October 1, 2008

Personal Enterprise Architecture

For a long time, I’ve wondered about the application of “enterprise” architecture to the person. In other words, can the principles of EA that are typically applied to an organization be relevant to us as individuals. And frankly, I am certain that they can!
Personal Enterprise Architecture (PEA)—essentially, this means that you’re your own enterprise. And you need to treat your life in the same (or even better) careful and planned manner that you would treat the organization that you care about and are hired to steward. This means taking an accounting of where you are in your life (your personal baseline), figuring out where you are going or want to be (your personal target), and then coming up with a game plan of how you are going to get there (usually through some sort of combination of hard work, personal investment, and self-sacrifice).

As this particular time of year, the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah), Personal EA is especially meaningful. Rosh Hashanah is a time of personal judgment. It is a time of introspection—where we reflect on our actions of the past year (our personal baseline); we feel and express regret for the things that we’ve done wrong; we commit to do better in the future (our personal target); and we plan how we can be better human beings in the year ahead of us (our personal transition plan).

In a sense, our lives can actually be more complicated than business processes and technology enablers. There is a Jewish saying that every human being is a whole world unto themselves. I believe this applies in terms of our value in the eyes of G-d, complexity as a combination of individualized nature and nurture, and in terms of potential to do great things.

True, we sometimes do things in an automated fashion—by rote, without thinking, sometimes callous of others feelings and the impact our actions have on ourselves and others. But we are not automatons!
As human beings, we are all faced with enormous personal tests and challenges. Unlike an organization, it’s not just about making money or achieving the organizational goals (however important those may be). But rather, we must face difficult and daunting human issues, day-in and day-out. We all know these human challenges. They are on one hand the most personal and often painful and on the other, the most central and meaningful. For each of us, these challenges are different. But the issues test our faith, demand compassion for others, and involve personal sacrifice.
Whatever your religion and whenever your new year (and time of reflection and judgment) is, we all share a commonality. We are human being endowed by our creator with a soul that drives us to pick ourselves up from wherever we are today and strive for a better tomorrow. What more noble an EA can there be?



Samuel Holcman said...


Agree completely. At one of our Enterprise Architecture Center Of Excellence Certification Workshops, one of the participants choose his family as the Enterprise and did his case study with the Family as the scope, and then, as another "activity" as himself as the Enterprise. It was quite "entertaining" as well as useful.

Andy Blumenthal said...

Samuel -

Enterprise can mean different things to different people, but it whatever the enterprise, architecture can help us make it better!

What EA COE certification workshop do you run?

Thanks for your post.