Sunday, April 8, 2012

Where are the good Enterprise Architects?

(This is the fifth part of a five part series on "Five Hurdles in Implementing EA")

Photo credit: solidether listed a myriad of characteristics that enterprise architects should have: solid technology knowledge, good business acumen, wide perspectives, deep customer and business knowledge, visionary but yet pragmatic1.  It is not easy to hire somebody with all these traits!

Over the course of my work, I have not met many really good enterprise architects (I don’t consider myself “really good”).  To begin with there are not many EA practitioners because EA is still a relatively new field.  Furthermore, there are people who have the EA certifications and maybe even relevant experiences, but tend to be too theoretical, or do not truly understand EA, or do not have the personal influence to effect changes EA brings.  Sometimes it is not the enterprise architect’s fault that he cannot effect necessary changes, as in the case mentioned earlier about under-powered EA efforts, but I believe successful enterprise architects still need an above-average level of influence.

Moreover, it is not easy to train existing employees to do EA.  Firstly it is not easy to find people with the traits mentioned earlier of enterprise architects.  Secondly, similar to skills like project management and negotiation, EA is learnt more by doing than studying.  Shadowing an experienced enterprise architect in his work is an excellent way to learn, but for organizations that have not started EA efforts, this will be hard to do.  Thirdly, EA is often given as additional responsibilities to existing employees.  It is obviously challenging for them to deal with learning EA on top of their existing responsibilities.

Building EA capability is thus a hurdle that organizations need to overcome.


[1] The Rising Importance of the Enterprise Architect,

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