Who Needs Architects? – Are You Committed to Reaching Your Goals?

Two wedding rings

A good way to avoid writer’s block is to have a smart and engaged readership. They tend to ask questions that keep you on your toes. Thomas Cagley did the honors on my last post dealing with separation of concerns and the need for architectural design up to the level of enterprise IT architecture:

Is there an approach you would suggest to ensure this type of thinking occurs when it really matters rather than a reaction to problems?

I responded with:

The short answer is commitment, which is best demonstrated by having goals (both in terms of process and in terms of application, solution, and enterprise IT architecture) and having people responsible for making sure those goals are accounted for in day to day operations.

The long answer will be this week’s post. 🙂

“Accidental architecture”, the organic, undirected evolution of architecture, describes the state of many organizations today. This state of affairs exists across the entire range of application, solution, and enterprise IT architectures. Without coherent goals and a plan of how the parts will work together toward these common goals, how could it be otherwise? As Tom Graves noted in “Governance is not an end in itself”:

…things work better when they work together, on purpose.

Purposeful governance is needed to direct efforts towards the same goals. Not because people need to be directed to perform, but because people need to know what is valued to direct their own performance in a way that benefits the organization as a whole. Purposeful governance is the opposite of governance for the sake of being able to say we have governance (Tom again):

…governance should never be ‘an end in itself’. Instead, governance exists solely to support a business need – or, more specifically, to keep things on track towards that business-need.

Anyone can get caught by surprise, even under the best of circumstances, but failing to plan practically ensures that problems will arise. Returning to a policy of neglect as soon as a brushfire is put out effectively ensures that another fire (and likely one from the same source) will break out. Effective governance (IT and otherwise) requires commitment: commitment to determine a direction towards organizational goals, commitment to follow through with action to achieve those goals and commitment to monitor that the goals remain the same and the direction continues to point towards those goals. This requires full time commitment to and ownership of those considerations.

Would you ride with a driver that wouldn’t commit to paying attention to the road unless there was a problem and only until the problem was “solved”?

Effective governance requires commitment to collaboration. Just as those responsible for the solution and application architectures need direction to mesh with the IT architecture of the enterprise, those responsible for the solution and enterprise IT architectures need the feedback of those responsible for the application architectures. Failure to listen can lead to catastrophe as can failure to achieve engagement:

As I noted above, many organizations have an “accidental architecture”. There are many reasons for why this is where they are now. The more important question is are they willing to remain there or will they make the commitment to take control of their future?

One thought on “Who Needs Architects? – Are You Committed to Reaching Your Goals?

  1. Pingback: Planning and Designing – Intentional, Accidental, Emergent | Form Follows Function

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