Enterprise Transformation

A Pragmatic Approach Using POET


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It seems everyone these days works on solutions. Thinking about one solution or another, solving problems, discussing or arguing with others on which is the right solution or not. People tend to concentrate on solutions because a solution to a problem is the end goal. There is also a psychological aspect to it - whoever’s solution is adopted proves their solution was superior (supposedly - in my experience that’s not always the case!).

It is human nature to answer questions - to create solutions.

Of course The Architecture Paradigm™ is also about providing solutions and dealing with their complexity, but the approach focusses much more on understanding the problem - for when you truly understand a problem, solutions tend to be:

a)     much easier to see and

b)    much more effective and efficient.

However The Architecture Paradigm™ also recognises that the approach must integrate with work that is to come later, namely Engineering.

An important distinction is that we should aim to Architect horizontally and Engineer vertically. This distinction allows us to explain a fundamental confusion that people have when people are trying to explain or advocate the architecture of something, namely, that just because an Architect is talking about the fundamentals of the whole, it does not mean they are advocating building the whole, immediately. By definition, fundamentals are high level, and by definition, the whole is big.

Comments such as “yes that’s all very good but it’s all high level, and it’s just too big, we can’t do it all (in a short space of time), so we won’t do anything at all” illustrates that confusion.

Architecture, by definition, is high level and is big. So the next time someone says that something Architectural is “high level and big” you should say, “Yes, It is! If it were not high level and big, it wouldn’t be Architecture!”

Think (and plan) strategically (Architecture), act tactically (Engineering).

When we say Architect horizontally, it means that Architecture tends to (should) consider the fundamental structure of something large and complex (If it were not large or complex there is little need for Architecture) and for that you have to (should) consider the whole. We also say horizontally because Architecture tends to (should) layer things and is concerned with systemic qualities and capabilities. Because Architecture tends to (should) consider things from a Contextual and/or Conceptual and/Logical perspectives this allows us to consider the whole.

This is in contrast to Engineering where the whole tends not to be engineered at the same time. For this reason we say that we Engineer vertically, that is, we utilise horizontal Architectural Structures but build in an end to end fashion.

Architecting is more concerned with WHY we need a solution which largely involves asking questions and understanding things. Engineering is more concerned with HOW the solution will be made real which largely involves creating solutions and talking.

It could be said that Architecting and Engineering are two sides of the same coin…


Questions to ponder...

Do the Management in your Enterprise, know the difference between Architecture and Engineering?

Do the Workers in your Enterprise, know the difference between Architecture and Engineering?

Does your Enterprise use Architecture and Engineering appropriately?

If not, what problems are created?

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