Dynamic Enterprise Architecture


This book is not so much about EA as about doing EA, or perhaps more accurately about managing doing EA. It’s about the processes and governance that surround EA and managing the interface to the business. A topic with surprisingly little good literature. If you are responsible for managing an EA practice or setting one up this book should be on your must have list.

One of the major challenges for enterprise architecture is managing the relationship with the business. On the one hand there is the almost mindless pursuit of short term flexibility and  on the other the architects who struggle to minimize the damage and build universal flexibility on a sustainable foundation.

Most architecture is anticipative, the usual current state, desired state and transition plan approach and while this is all good and sound, frankly its often simply too slow. What Dynamic Enterprise Architecture gives you is options. Options that allow the negotiation of none compliant approaches to solutions. The basic proposition is that sometimes getting a system in is a matter of short term survival and that over rides the anticipative architectural approach. They call this defensive architecture. There is also an offensive version, where the organization has only a narrow window of opportunity. Obviously, in such circumstances the build of a “throw away” system must be at least considered.

Dynamic Enterprise Architecture seeks a balance between agility and coherence through a mechanism called the Strategic Dialogue. This all sounds fine, but here’s the catch in the wrong organization I can see Dynamic Enterprise Architecture being touted by the uninitiated in the same way that some promote agile development methodologies. The brutal reality is that in many organizations this is simply the politically correct term for unrealistic expectations and no methodology at all.

The authors provide a set of principles that will guide an organization towards a Dynamic Enterprise Architecture practice and along the way make many pertinent points. In some ways this book is the tactical end of Ross, Weill and Robertson’s vision of architecture as strategy. And like RWR they make a number of points about the need for business to mend its ways and get with the program. “Finally business management should recognize that they are restricting business development if they consider IT as a purely supportive process instead of a source of new possibilities.” (p. 67) and  “IT and business management determine together which business objectives the organization should pursue.”(p. 74). I just know that will not go down well in some places.

This is an excellent book and a fairly easy read at 240+ pages. It should be read principally by executives and chief architects. However, any architect would find it useful. Recommended

Wagter, Roel, van den Berg, Martin, Luijpers, Joost, van Steenbergen, Marlies, (2005), “Dynamic Enterprise Architecture”, SOGETI, John Wiley and Sons Inc., Hoboken, New Jersey

ISBN 978-0-471-68272-1

  1. #1 by racunovodski servis on January 29, 2011 - 8:29 am

    I have to admit that i generally get bored to learn the whole thing but i believe you can add some value. Bravo !

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