Architecture Experts Avoid the “A” Word: Agility

I attended a Business Architecture/Enterprise Architecture power panel yesterday at the Building Business Capability conference in Miami. Since I knew two of the panelists personally, I expected a lively conversation?and in that respect I wasn’t disappointed.

However, there was one word that nobody mentioned the entire session, neither panelists nor audience members: agility.

From my perspective, agility is?or at least, should be?the primary driver for Enterprise Architecture (EA), as well as Business Architecture, for that matter. But no one seemed to be on the same page.

True, there was a discussion of change, and John Zachman did state that the primary reason to do EA is to help organizations change. But no one suggested that EA should help organizations become better at dealing with change. And therein lies the critical distinction.

EA (as well as Business Architecture) have long clung to the “final state” myth. If we can define a final state and help the organization get there, then we can consider ourselves successful. By then, of course, the desired state will have changed, so we pick up our skirts and rush to the new destination, bouncing from one purported final state to another, as though we were trying to pounce on some kind of enterprise leprechaun moving his pot of gold.

It’s time to stop the madness! Jumping from one illusory goal to another doesn’t serve our organizations well. Instead, let’s raise our game. Focus on embracing change. Live it. Breathe it. That’s what business agility is all about.

And for what it’s worth, nobody mentioned the word innovation, either. Why am I not surprised?

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