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Pragmatism is the Secret Sauce of Enterprise Architecture

There are many incorrect ways to approach Enterprise Architecture (EA). In the case of a failed EA approach, you may find remnants of a technology-only focus, remnants of an arrogant and aloof team, remnants of a team with no business knowledge, remnants of no executive support, etc.

I like to say that pragmatism is the secret sauce of Enterprise Architecture. Pragmatism needs to be used every day in an EA team when making decisions about how best to apply EA within a company, how best to engage the various business teams, how best to engage the various IT teams, how best to demonstrate value and how best to evolve and mature the EA function.

My best advice in terms of setting EA up for success is as follows:

1) Immediately engage EA in the true enterprise level programs and activities within the company. Help those programs be successful by applying a holistic enterprise view.
2) Leverage pragmatism in your decision making processes while moving the company to a more holistic way of looking at the business goals/objectives
3) Head down the path of talking about business processes and business capabilities while connecting those to business systems.
4) Leverage visual artifacts to get your message across. Challenge yourself and your team to represent your messages in terms of pictures not words.
5) Create a recurring discussion forum for EA topics such as applications, data, technology and security. Get the people who are enthusiastic about architecture together to drive traction.
6) Stay in touch with the outside world and leverage examples from other companies to influence the internal direction. People often trust proposals that include examples from other world-class companies.
7) Leverage your technology partners' knowledge to enhance the knowledge of your own EA team. Often those partners are very excited and motivated to help you determine architecture direction.



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