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Enterprise Architecture, Featured, Headline, IT Architecture, ITANA, JimPhelps, Work

Eat your vegis or Have A Little Green Tree – getting EA into the Enterprise

I was thinking about how, when I try to get buy-in for doing Enterprise Architecture as a holistic thing, I tend not get very far with the campus. But, when I parse out little EA bits, they catch on. I was thinking about this in terms of the metaphor: Getting Kids To Eat Vegetables. Before I go on further – this is not meant to demean the campus community nor do I mean to imply they are childish. It is just a good metaphor for my understanding what is going on around me.

There are two approaches to getting kids to eat vegetables. The first is the top-down, holistic approach where you explain that vegis are good for you. You talk about good food and bad food and vitamins and healthy eating. This is the Enterprise Architecture as a holistic practice approach. You talk about why we need to do Enterprise Architecture and the benefits or reducing redundancy, getting a handle on what we are doing and why, setting a clear(er) roadmap for the future. Our institution, like most kids, don’t really get the point of the discussion nor do they buy into the argument.

The second approach (re: kids and vegis) is to sell them on “eating a little green tree” also known as broccoli. Then convincing them that peas with mint are pretty good cold. Once they are eating three or four types of vegis, you can explain the vegetable concepts and start in on nutrition. “You know, carrots make it so you can see better in the dark. That’s pretty cool that a carrot can give you night vision. Let’s eat carrots each night this week and see if on Saturday, we can see better in the dark.” You can get buy-in for the short-term cool gain of one vegetable type.

This is what seems to be working for us architects here at UW-Madison. I have slowly started pushing out some different artifacts and practices. Each one is catching on based on its own merits. We have various places starting with principles using the TOGAF format for Principles .

I’ve started to get people interesting in applying the NIH EA Brick Diagram to various projects and technologies.

This is an interesting approach to “doing enterprise architecture”. I’ll need to focus more on small acceptable bites that are examples of why you should do EA at large. Get them eating broccoli, peas and carrots and then talk about nutrition.

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About jimphelps

Chair, ITANA Enterprise Architect, Sr. IT Architect; UW-Madison

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