Archive for May, 2011

The Zoom Factor

Typically the EA books I review are a summary of the author’s heuristic experiences; they provide viewpoints, models and tools for managing the challenges of EA. Fewer authors opt for an holistic approach; perhaps these books are best described as being about “approaches to EA” rather than methodological detail.

Zoom Effect is unique in the way it places the reader at the centre of a discussion about developing the Platonic (in the philosophical sense of ideal form) master architect. While the book could have  slipped every easily into being just another light weight methodology book the author has successfully fused perspectives, personalized the topic and sharpened our focus by engaging our self interest, a clever twist. The Zoom Effect is an EA book dedicated to developing you and accelerating your career and that’s different!

The book is divided into five sections: Set Your Foundation, The Process Driven Architect, Realize Your Soft Skills, Propel Your Perspective and Achieving Architectural Altitude. As you might gather from the titles this book’s aim is to apply an Architecture Development Methodology to your career. The five sections containing twenty one chapters with around ninety topics are covered in a little over 320 thematically organized pages supported by checklists and self assessments to keep you focused and on track.

As one might imagine with only three or so pages to each topic there’s very little actual method in this book. But that’s not the point; there is a lot of clear thinking and straight talking delivered in a very matter of fact and easy to read style. Where the book goes a little too methodological it can be disappointing; the Gap Analysis topic for example isn’t going to set the world on fire. But, it really doesn’t matter. It doesn’t detract from the book’s value, which is in its promotion of the ethos and ethics of architecture rather than the mechanics of method.

The book succinctly; and in my opinion rather refreshingly, calls out the shortcomings of TOGAF and perhaps, all formal methodologies for that matter; without disrupting the narrative that being a good architect is the sum of many tacit skills and it does this without becoming limp. The Zoom Effect is kind of Zen meets the Zachman Framework.

Anyone who spends time on architectural forums and has noticed that there’s always questions about education on them will instantly know that there’s a place for this book. This is a book that’s time has come. Even if you are a well established architect it’s well worth reading.

This is a book that you can start your library with, but it would be unfair to label it as an introduction or an architectural text book, it’s so much more than that. If you are looking specific advice on how to progress your career I don’t think that you’ll do better than this, highly recommended.

Evans, Sharon E. 2010, Zoom Factor for the Enterprise Architect, Firefli Media, Winnipeg

ISBN: 978-0-9812609-0-7

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