It’s strange to me, but over the years I’ve heard about so many enterprise architecture programs that have failed that really shouldn’t have. When I asked the enterprise architect involved why they thought it happened, they usually had the same reasons.
1) We couldn’t show results fast enough
2) The business couldn’t see/understand value
3) We ran out of budget
I usually followed up with a few more questions. I’d ask about their enterprise architecture plan and status. A “We don’t really have a plan, we were too busy doing EA, they’d respond. A I’d nibble on that one.
“What kinds of activities were you doing?” I’d get answers like “trying to get various technologies to work”, “fixing large enterprise problems”, and descriptions of assignments on various software development and infrastructure replacement projects.
But were they really doing EA? Who sanctioned all of these activities? Where was their plan? What was their budget? What were their goals?
Many people who believe they are acting in an enterprise architect role are really taking on the role of technical architects or specialists. A They aren’t involved in enterprise level projects, but rather enterprise “pet” projects, or top priority projects. A Most can’t answer specific business benefits they’ll realize by completing these projects, and the answer is typical “because our CIO wants it done”. Many don’t know the business drivers, or the strategic objectives that match their activities.
Some were really valid answers and added value to the company and IT departments, but often lead to the cancellation of EA programs or maintained the absence of visibility in the organization for enterprise architecture. Most executives and sponsors won’t fund anything without a real plan and often teams forgo planning, or spend lengthy exercises that yield results inconsistent with their goals.
Stay tuned for the continued thoughts on this thread.