November 30, 2007

IT Investment Reviews and Enterprise Architecture

To manage IT, you’ve got to have investment reviews, but when is it too much or not effective?

There are a number of executives (CXO’s) with a stake in the success of IT projects and a responsibility to review and manage them:

  1. Chief Financial Officer (CFO)— is interested in the investment’s alignment to the mission and its return on investment
  2. Chief Information Officer (CIO)—looks at IT projects in terms of technical alignment and compliance with the enterprise architecture, systems development life cycle, IT security, and other areas like privacy, accessibility, records management, and so on
  3. Chief Procurement Officer (CPO)—reviews projects for contractual issues to protect the organization and ensure that “it gets what it’s paying for”
  4. Line of Business (LOB) Program Officials—must review projects in terms of their project management and to control cost, schedule, and performance and ensure that the organization “controls” its investments

Usually, each of these executives has boards to carry out these review functions, and they are redundant, inefficient and drive the end-user crazy answering questions and checklists.

Part of the problem is that the executives and their review boards do not limit themselves to reviewing just their particular domains, but look across the management areas. So for example, EA often not only looks at technical alignment, but also will review business alignment and performance measures.

Moreover, not only are the review boards’ functionality often redundant between CXO’s, but even within the domain of a CXO, there will be duplicative review efforts such as between EA, SDLC, and IT security reviews.

Additionally, when an organizational component of an organization needs to conduct these reviews at their level and then again all the same reviews at a higher overall organization level, then the already inefficient review process is now doubly so.

In the end, with all the requisite reviews, innovation gets stifled, projects hamstrung, and the end-user frustrated and looking to circumvent the whole darn thing.

Obviously, you must review and establish checks and balances on IT investments, especially with the historical trends of people spending extravagantly and wastefully on IT solutions that were non-standard, not secure, not interoperable, did not meet user requirements, were over-budget, and behind schedule.

The key from a User-centric EA perspective is to balance the needs for governance, oversight, and compliance with helping and servicing the end-user, so they can meet mission needs, develop innovative solutions, and manage with limited resources. Asking users the same or similar checklist questions is not only annoying, but a waste of valuable resources, and a great way to spark an end-user revolt!

Remember it’s a fine line between EA and governance showing value to the organization and becoming a nuisance and a hindrance to progress.


November 29, 2007

Robot Warfare and Enterprise Architecture

The day has arrived. It’s the Terminator, but for real—a killer robot made to do some serious battlefield harm.

Fortune Magazine (December 2007) reports that its “1% inspiration and 99% obliteration…when engineering talent meets extreme gunsmithing.”

“It’s two feet tall, travels ten miles an hour, and spins on a dime. Remote-controlled over an encrypted frequency that jams nearby radios and cellphones, it’ll blow a ten-inch hole through a steel door with deadly accuracy from 400 meters.”

When firing in automatic mode, it shoots 300 rounds per minute and “delivers the lead equivalent of 132 M16s.”

Two such deadly bots can be carried into battle on a remote-controlled mini-helicopter, called the AutoCopter.

Robotex has built these deadly robots with investor money rather than government research money and has developed these devastating technology marvels for only $30,000 to $50,000.

These robots while new to the market are a sure bet from an enterprise architecture perspective. They meet user requirements as a superb killing machine. They take our military men and women out of harm’s way and instead intelligently use technology to conduct the “business” of war. The technology employed is low maintenance and is the finest, most reliable, firepower available (“It’s made of aircraft-grade aluminum steel, never needs lubrication or cleaning, and won’t rust. Pour sand in it and it won’t clog. It doesn’t recoil.”). It’s extremely cost-effective. And it gives us the technology edge.

Let’s hope and pray that we’re already planning counter-measures for when the bad guys get up-to-speed on these. That is very necessary EA planning for protecting our country and interests.


November 28, 2007

Turducken and Enterprise Architecture

When I asked a friend at work, how they enjoyed their Thanksgiving holiday, they said great, they spent the day making (and then eating) turducken!

In the conversation, I was to learn what turducken is…

Turducken—“a partially de-boned turkey stuffed with a de-boned duck, which itself is stuffed with a small de-boned chicken. The name is a portmanteau of those ingredients: turkey, duck, and chicken. The cavity of the chicken and the rest of the gaps are filled with, at the very least, a highly seasoned breadcrumb mixture or sausage meat, although some versions have a different stuffing for each bird.” (Wikipedia)

I thought to myself, is it strange that someone made a recipe that combines 3 different birds and named it as if it was a new species with three heads or something?

My friend told me how much work it was to make this recipe and put these three birds together as one; also what a mess it made of the kitchen.

As I continued to hear and think about turducken, I realized it was all about good old innovation. Any plain old turkey, duck, or chicken—that’s old news. We’re in a society, where we are always looking to do and try something new. While “new” is not always better, it is the adventure, the creative process, the forever trying that is part of our creed. Like in Star Trek at the beginning where they say, “to go where no man has gone before.”

This creative spirit is an essential part of User-centric EA. Architects are masters at not only studying and analyzing the business and technology of today, but also aspire to innovate a better technology enabled business in the future. Aside from the “not another data call” EA is about piecing the business-technology puzzle of the organization together and incorporating all the economic, political, and social influences to create a viable vision and execution model for bringing the organization into the future.

So EA will never be satisfied with a plain old turkey, duck, or chicken. User-centric EA will always be looking to create an innovative turducken recipe!


November 27, 2007

Email and Enterprise Architecture

How many emails a day is enough?

The Wall Street Journal, 27 November 2007 reports that we are all being inundated with email and it is only going to get worse.

On average, the corporate email user received 126 messages a day last year, up 55% from 2003.

Moreover, “by 2009, workers are expecting to spend 41% of their time just managing emails.”

Further, by 2011, the average number of corporate emails sent and received per person, per day is expected to hit 228!

According to Microsoft, users fall into two general categories for how they handle all the email:

  1. Filers—“strive to have an empty inbox at the end of the day”
  2. Pilers—“the super-messy desk people. They’ve got 5,000 emails in their inbox, most of them unread”

One new novel architecture approach to help manage email is based on a product from Seriosity, as follows:

“Attent™ with Serios™ is an enterprise productivity application inspired by multiplayer online games. It tackles the problem of information overload in corporate email using psychological and economic principles from successful games. Attent creates a synthetic economy with a currency (Serios) that enables users to attach value to an outgoing email to signal importance. It gives recipients the ability to prioritize messages and a reserve of currency that they can use to signal importance of their messages to others. Attent also provides a variety of tools that enable everyone to track and analyze communication patterns and information exchanges in the enterprise.” (

So for example, users may get 100 serios at the start of the week, and they get more when others send them messages. They allocate these serios to each message they send. “A message asking some if he or she wants to go out for lunch might carry a value of three ‘serios’ of virtual currency; [while] a message about an important customer with an urgent problem might get 30 serios. In this way, we try “to get people to send fewer message, or just more relevant ones.”

From a User-centric EA perspective, having senders designate the importance of messages is a wonderful idea to help receivers gauge relative importance and need to read. This is an improvement over the basic Microsoft Outlook capability that enables users to simply mark something with a “!” as important or not.

The Seriosity product is a good example of how technology can meet emerging business requirements, even when it involves managing hundreds of emails a day.


November 26, 2007

The "Right" Way to Introduce New Technology and Enterprise Architecture

I came across some interesting lessons learned on rolling out new technology (from the perspective of franchisers/franchisees) that apply nicely to user-centric enterprise architects (adapted from The Wall Street Journal, 26 November 2007):

Partner with the user--"if you can get a franchisee really excited about the new technology, it's a lot simpler to get it rolled out...if I can convince you, and you can see the difference, you will be my best spokesman."

Testing it first--"finding a guinea pig...we have a lot of people telling us they have great concepts. We want to see that it works with our customer base, our menu, our procedures first."

Show the cost-benefit--"an enhancement may look promising, but if its payback is years away, the investment may not compute." Why fix it, if it ain't broke.

Keep it simple--"most franchisees are focused on their business, not they're not looking for something to complicate their lives." Also, focus the solution on the operators in the field and not on the headquarters staff, who may not be completely in tune with the realities on the front lines with the customers.

November 25, 2007

Implicit Requirements and Enterprise Architecture

With electonic contact lists in Microsoft Outlook on the computer and on organizer programs on cellphones and other electronic gizmos, why would anyone still keep a physical Rolodex anymore?

The Wall Street Journal, 24-25 November 2007, reports that "some executives are still spinning their rotary card files...more than 20 years after the digital revolution that forecasted the paperless office, the 'rotary card file'--best known by the market-leading brand name Rolodex--continues to turn."

The article continues, "as millions of social-network users display their connectedness on their Facebook pages, a surprisingly robust group of people maintain their networks on small white cards. Most of these devotees also rely on BlackBerrys and other computer-based address books."

This infatuation with physical Rolodex files extends to models like the 6000-card wheel that are no longer even on the market. Other executives keep as many as 8 or 9 Rolodex wheels on their much needed desk space. Why?

The article states that "part of the card system's appeal has always been that it displays the size of one's business network for the world to see." Yet, social-networking sites like LinkedIn also display the number of contacts a person has, so what's the difference from a physical Rolodex file--what need is the technology not fulfilling with users?

From a User-centric EA perspective, it seems that people have a fundamental need with their contacts to not only be able to maintain them in an organized fashion and to demonstrate the size of their network (to show their value to the organization), but also to feel important and accomplished and to be able "to wear" this like a mark or medal of distinction, in this case by laying it out their Rolodex files prominently on their desks for all to behold.

In EA, when we design technology solutions, we need to keep in mind that there are functional requirements like the organizing of personal and professional contacts, but there are also human, psychological requirements that may never actually come out in a JAD session. These are unstated or implicit requirements and architects need to plan technology to meet both the explicit and implicit needs of users.

A little like Sherlock Holmes and a little bit like a psychologist, an architect must explore user needs beyond the surface if they are to successfully align new technologies with end-user and organizational requirements.

November 24, 2007

One Laptop Per Child and Enterprise Architecture

The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) initiative announced at the World Economic Forum in 2005 set out to put $100 laptops in the hands of 100s of millions of disadvantaged schoolchildren within 4 years and help eliminate world poverty in the process.

The Wall Street Journal (24-25 November 2007) reports that this ambitious non-profit program has hit some snags.

The problems faced by this benevolent program provides lessons in EA for practitioners into what can go wrong if User-centric EA principles are not followed:

  1. Functionality versus price--as the OLPC computer added functionality, the $100 laptop became $188 plus shipping and many potential buyers balked at the pricetag. On the other hand, countires like Libya complained about the inferior functionality and quality and said, "I don't want my country to be a junkyard for these machines." From a User-centric EA perspective, we need to understand the requirements of our users and understand the trade-offs between functionality and price. Then we need to make conscious decisions on whether we fulfill needs for greater functionality and quality or whether we seek to hold the line on price for our customers. These are important architectural decisions that will affect the organization's ability to compete in the marketplace.

  2. Compete or partner--the OLPC machine went with open source software like Linux and AMD chips; these put the laptops head to head with companies like Microsoft and Intel, which come out fighting, with the gloves off. Intel is aggressively promoting its version of the laptop for developing nations called the Classmate for $230-$300, and Microsoft has announced $3 software packages that include Windows and a student version of Office. From a User-centric EA perspective, the decision of the organization whether to compete with the big players (like Microsoft and Intel) or partner is another major architectural decision. While we shouldn't make decisions based on fear of what the competition will do, we do need to be cognizant that if we go head-to-head with "the big boys", then they will respond, usually in a big way. Now OLPC is reportedly in discussions with Intel to design an Intel-based laptop.

  3. Training and support--In User-centric EA, do not underestimate the importance to the end-user of adequate training and support. The OLPC made the mistake of minimizing the importance of training and support and said that the "plan is for the machines to be simple enough that students can train themselves--and solve any glitches that arise." Not very realistic given the state of technology today, and many countries quickly "questioned who would fix them if they break."
By not following certain foundational EA principles, the OLPC program has floundered and "nearly three years later, only about 2000 students in pilot programs have received computers."

This is a shame, since so much good from this initiative can still be done.

November 23, 2007

Architecting the Act of Giving

Giving charity is one of the most important things we can do. It is a fundamental expression of our humanity, an act of compassion on those not as fortunate as ourselves, and a show of belief that all that is bestowed on us comes and belongs to the One above.

According to the Wall Street Journal (23 November 2007), Americans give an estimated $97 billion to congregations in 2006, almost a third of the county's $295 billion in charitable donations." The total is the equivalent of roughly $1000 for every man, woman, and child in this country!

The great thing is, many people do tithe and that is wonderful. However, what about those that don't, should they be as the article states "urged to donate?" Is there a point where the line between giving as personal act of religion, faith, or humanity, is tainted by exonerations, required contracts, or even threats to make people give?

The Journal reports that "Mormons must give 10% to the church or they may be barred from temples where ceremonies take place. Some evangelical Protestant churches require new members to sign covenants, promising to tithe or give generously. Those who openly refuse might be denied leadership roles or asked to leave the congregation."

All the pressure is leading to a "backlash against tithing."

For example, some potential charitable givers are turned off by the way funds are being used. The WSJ gives examples of "megachurches, some with expensive worship centers equipped with coffee bars and widescreen TVs."

Yet religious institutions are increasingly employing sophisticated technology to encourage and enable charitable donations. "Some Baptist churches are trying to encourage credit card payments and automatic deductions from checking accounts...[another church] created the 'giving kiosk' machine that allows congregants to donate at the church from their bank cards [over 50 of these machines have already been deployed]...[additionally,] the machines can help track which families are giving the most."

It seems that religious institutions are doing more than using technology to enable giving--they may be crossing the line into "manipulating" people through "catching them" publicly if they don't give...they are taking away all the excuses and tracking giving behavior.

Where is the line between business and religion?

The article concludes with a church employee who worked for a pastor who "said he expected employees to give 10%," but the church employee felt "all decisions to give and how much to give are between the believer and their G-d, not meant to be used as stumbling blocks or judgments against others." This employee no longer works for the church--instead he now drives trucks.

From a User-centric EA perspective, we need to be thoughtful of our stakeholders' needs and how we work with them. The article at one point states: "you can't beat people over the head." However, you really can beat them into submission, but is this really what we want to accomplish?

From an enterprise architecture perspective, we use technology to enable business execution for all sorts of organizations. But ideally, technology is used to further legitimate human aims, and not to manipulate users into compliance. Especially from a religious perspective.

In short, good EA is applying technology to solve business problems. Bad EA manipulates people's emotions to get them to do what they may not want to do.

November 20, 2007

E-books and enterprise architecture

Does anyone really think you want to read a book on a computer screen?

Well, vendors like Sony with their "Reader" and Amazon with their new "Kindle" think you will.

However, while 110 million iPods have been sold, only 100,000 e-book readers have sold in North America. (The Wall Street Journal, 20 November 2007)

A Kindle costs $399 and downloading a best-seller is $9.99, while classics cost as little as $1.99. You can also get newspaper subscriptions online for a monthly subscription fee.

While Amazon has a wonderful vision "to have every book that has ever been in print available in less than 60 seconds," the core hurdle from a User-centric EA perspective needs to be addressed:

Users can and like to read size manageable documents online (like this blog, maybe), but a book on a screen does still not 'feel' natural and is tiring on users physically, mentally, and emotionally. The core requirement is for ergonomic reading and it's just not there!

While the current technology enables e-book reading without a backlight and "provides an experience that is akin to reading on paper, and users can even change the font size to make print larger and easier to read, the technology is not still user-friendly. Can you easily jump back and reread something? Can you easily highlight or underline? Can you annotate in the margins? Can you flip over the corner of the page to mark it as important? And with all these, can you do it in a way that is appealing to the various human sensation in a holistic way? Finally, can you easily experience (not just with a page number) your progress as you read through the book, so you can feel good about it?

As the article states: "he likes the physicality of a book and the sense of making progress as he reads." There is definitely a very human pleasure aspect missing in reading a book online and until vendors figures out the missing architectural components that links the user and the technology with an interface that is user-centric, the e-readers will continue to flounder.

The WSJ concludes that "even some dedicated fans of digital technology say they have their doubts about reading books in an electronic format," and for now so do I.

November 19, 2007

Product Design & Development Sessions (DADS) and Enterprise Architecture

Do you ever find your architects get bottled up with developing EA information products (i.e. they can’t seem to get the new information products designed and developed and ‘over the finish line’—its like they are just sort of stuck in perpetual limbo)?

Like on any enterprise initiative, there are many people involved in building the eneterprise architecture: leaders, subject matter experts (SME), users, stakeholders, and the architects themselves. And for each of these categories, their may be numerous individuals or groups with valuable ideas and content and design input.

Even for the architects themselves, there may be many involved in building an EA information product for the enterprise: for example, there’s the chief enteprise architect with the overall strategy for the architecture; there may be the architect that’s the “architecture subject matter expert” whose most familiar with the particular content area like databases, IT security, SOA, etc., another may have the contact (or “relationship”) with the relevant leadership and business/technical SMEs, while another may be the team’s design guru able to visualize or model the content into an easy to read and understand end-product, and various others (like the EA configuration manager, EA communications manager, and so on). In general, the larger and more complex the enterprise, the more business and technical people and specialists involved in building the architecture.

So it’s not hard to see, with the various SMEs and specialists involved in building often many information products simultaneously, how information products can ‘get stuck’ along the way in the development process.

From a User-centric EA perspective, it’s the role of the chief enterprise architect (CEA) to

"keep the wheels on the road" and "keep ‘em turning." In other words, the CEA is responsible for bringing everyone together and laying out the process to effecively and efficiently build the EA.

However, when the process does get stuck along the way, one way that the CEA can unclog it is with EA information product design and development sessions (DADS).

DADS are product design and development sessions, where I "sequester" the relevant SMEs in a conference room. Mandatory is a large white board. And then we close the door (and don’t let anyone out, except for bio breaks— sort of kidding) until we have a draft information product. When everyone is prepared with their materials, it usually only takes an hour or two. But focusing everyone on the objective and bridging the divides, helps get them over the proverbial ‘finish line’.

DADS are a very successful tool when done right. Recently, for example, I’ve helped an organization develop almost 50 "useful and usable" EA information products in less than 9 months!

The DADS (like JAD sessions for application development) can rapidly move an organization along the EA maturity cycle and from product development and maintenance to levaraging use of the information for IT planning, governance, and decision-making in the enterprise.


Brain-Computer Interface and Enterprise Architecture

The Wall Street Journal, week of 24 September 2007 reports that research is being done to develop brain-computer interfaces to help “people who are fully conscious, but paralyzed on account of disease or spinal-cord injuries.”

For paralyzed people, this technology could mean a fiber optic cable connecting the brain to the arms or legs to trigger movement. Unfortunately, the technology is still primitive.

Other applications are for people to be able to control computers “using only their thoughts.” Replacing the traditional mouse and keyboard, would be telepathy (“brain computer control”)—how cool is that!

In User-centric EA, such an advance would be significant for users in just about any enterprise. Imagine how brain control of computer technology would change the way we do everyday tasks: forget about going from wired to wireless, now we’re talking about going to user interface-less! No more typing, pushing buttons, right-clicking, left-clicking, rolling the mouse, manipulating the joystick, or even voice activated commands. Just think it (maybe a little more than that – maybe you have to concentrate) and poof, the technology responds just the way it would with all the other stuff we now have to do with our fingers.

And let’s not forget another big advantage: no more (or much less) carpal tunnel syndrome; although possibly more headaches and maybe even migraines (depending on how much we have to concentrate for the brain-computer interface to work).

Anyway, all kidding aside, while I would not write this technology into the target architecture of my agency quite yet, it is inspiring and thought-provoking to have this “vision” on the radar. And it is exciting to imagine the possibilities.


Organizational Change Means Letting Go

In the book the “Tao of Leadership” by John Heider, he discusses “the paradox of letting go.” He states, When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be…by yielding, I endure…when I feel most destroyed, I am about to grow…let go in order to achieve.”

From a User-centric Enterprise Architecture approach, I think this is very applicable to developing, communicating, and achieving consensus on a target architecture and transition plan for the organization: for the enterprise to accept a new target architecture and a plan for change, the leadership, stakeholders, and all the rank-and-file, must be ready to “let go” of the as-is state.

If we forever hold on and embrace the way things are today, avoid any sort of risk-taking, and fear change, then we will never be able to achieve what could be. But rather, by being open to change, we free ourselves of the bounds and limitations of the here and now.

Often, I hear users in the organization say things like, “we’ve done it this way forever,” or “you don’t understand how we do things around here,” or “we’ve already tried changing to [fill-in-the-blank], and it’s never worked (i.e. we’ve never really been open to changing anything). These are exactly the kinds of things people say when they’re comfortable in their status quo; when they’ve been around for 20-25-even 30 years and don’t want or see any reason to change anything.

The world is a far different place today than it was 20-30 years ago or even 3-5 years ago, but people are risk averse, afraid of change or of losing some of their power, turf, or comfort, and they cling to what they believe are strategies that worked in the past and that they mistakenly believe will continue work in the present and forever.

This is the paradox of letting go that Heider talks about—when I let go of what I am (the as-is state of being), I become what I might be (the target state of being)!” Put another way, for an organization to progress, mature, and grow, it has got to be open to change. And finally, this openness to change has got to be more than just a dictate from the top or “lip service” from the rank and file. Change is hard, and to really succeed, everyone has got to be on board.


Internet Advertising and Enterprise Architecture

Does anyone really pay attention to pop-up or banner ads on the internet?

Fortune Magazine, 26 November 2007 reports that “blinking banners across the top of the screen and the like—are irritants most users train themselves to ignore.”

Yet, money has been mass-exiting print and TV advertising and pouring into online advertising, which is now a $21.4 billion business and is expected to double within the next 4 years!

Search ads like those that appear on Google are some of the most effective (click through rates are over 5%) and account for 40% of online advertising. However, the other 60% of online ads have only 0.2% click through rates; that’s 1 out of every 5000, which is not very effective for sure.

Now Facebook, the social networking site, is trying something new. With your permission, every time you purchase something, this “news” is shared with all your friends (for example, with a feed from the sponsor). This leverages the long held belief that word of mouth advertising is the best endorsement for a vendor’s products or services——and “nothing influences a person more than a recommendation from a trusted friend.”

However, aggressive ads on social networking sites could backfire and be perceived as “spamming your friends” or privacy could become a concern (especially, as the article states, purchasers hastily click though the checkout process and accidentally share private purchases with their world of online connections).

I don’t know about you, but I just about completely tune out online ads. Nor would I want to share my personal purchases with my online social network — way too materialistic and air-headed. In the Valley, I believe they say, “like, who cares.”

From a User-centric EA perspective, I find it difficult to understand the wasteful spending of advertising dollars, in its current form, to the 60% that involve pop-ups and banners online that are nothing but a nuisance to the very people that vendors are trying to reach and influence. This is use of technology that is not aligned to performance results and not effective to driving mission execution. This is technology for technology sake. Another technology bubble of sorts.


iPod Versus Zune and Enterprise Architecture

Zune has been playing catch up with iPod in the music player business, but from an User-centric enterprise architecture standpoint, they’ve got it all wrong!

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), 14 November 2007 reports that Microsoft has retooled the Zune so that it “marks a vast improvement; however, it’s still no iPod.”

Where is Microsoft going wrong?
  1. An inferior product—“last year when Microsoft Corp. introduced its Zune music player to take on Apple’s iPod juggernaut, the software giant struck out. While the Zune had a good user interface, it was bigger and boxier, with clumsier controls, weaker battery life, and more complex software. Its companion online music store has a much smaller catalogue, a more complicated purchase process, and no videos for sale. And the Zune’s most innovative feature, built-in Wi-Fi networking, was nearly useless.” So much for competing on product quality!
  2. Underestimating the competition—Microsoft is “back with a second improved round of Zune’s…Apple hasn’t been standing still…the 80-gigabyte Classic, which costs the same as 80-gigabyte Zune, is slimmer than the Zune and has a flashy new interface, if a smaller screen. And the eight-gigabyte nano, which costs the same as the eight-gigabyte Zunem now plays videos and is much smaller—yet it has a larger screen. In addition, Apple has spiffed up its iTunes software…and Apple still trounces Microsoft in the selection of media it sells…more than six million songs, about double what the Zune marketplace offers, and dwarfs Microsoft’s selection of Podcasts and music videos as well.”

The WSJ concludes, “Microsoft has greatly improved the Zune hardware and software this time. But it seems to be competing with Apple’s last efforts, not its newest ones.”

In spite of these explanations, I think we’re missing something else here. If you compare the Microsoft desktop software to Apple’s, Microsoft also has a worse product, yet is the hands-down market leader. So why is Microsoft struggling with Zune?

Maybe functionality is part of the equation, but not the whole thing. It’s interesting to me that neither the article nor advertisements I see for Zune address anything about the interoperability of the product with Apple’s iTunes. Interoperability is not only a major enterprise architecture issue, but from a consumer standpoint, do you really expect people to dump their investment in their iTunes music library when they buy a Zune?

Looking at Yahoo Answers online, I see consumers share this concern:

“Can you use the iTunes’ software with the Microsoft Zune? I am torn between which to buy, if you can use itunes with the Zune then that’s the one I’ll get, but if you can’t then I’m getting an iPod, help me decide please.”

“Best Answer - Chosen by Voters

No you cannot. iTunes only works with the iPod, Zune is a completly different player made by Microsoft, it has its own music program and marketplace called the Zune Marketplace. The Zune Software can automatically copy songs that have not been purchased from iTunes (because ones that are have copy protection on them) and put them in the Zune Program.”

Until Microsoft acts as the architects par excellence that they are, and work out the all-important EA interoperability issues of its product, and communicates this with its customers, the Zune will continue to be second-rate, functionality notwithstanding.

November 18, 2007

Business Intelligence from Enterprise Architecture

There is an interesting article by Bill Cason in Architecture and Governance Magazine, Volume 3, Issue 1 that emphasizes the importance of business intelligence to not only “the business,” but also to the IT of the organization.

What is business intelligence?

“Business intelligence (BI) is a business management term that dates to 1958. It refers to applications and technologies that are used to gather, provide access to, and analyze data and information about company operations. Business intelligence systems can help companies have a more comprehensive knowledge of the factors affecting their business, such as metrics on sales, production, and internal operations, and they can help companies to make better business decisions.” (Wikipedia)

“The ability to learn faster than your competitors may be the only sustainable competitive advantage.” (Arie de Geus)

“The renowned Dutch business strategist got it right…repeatable success depends largely on the ability to adjust course quicker than your competition can adjust theirs. A prerequisite to that course correction is, of course, an understanding of exactly which adjustments need to be made. In the business world, the means to that end is ‘business intelligence’ or ‘BI’ for short.” (Architecture and Governance Magazine)

BI provides an organization not only access to pertinent data, but also analytics that transforms the data into actionable information.

User-centric EA is the foundation for capturing data for developing business intelligence for IT. EA captures massive amounts of data scattered in silos across the organization. The data is unified in the EA—brought together from dispersed geographies, numerous systems (manual and automated), previously stored in varied formats, and managed by disparate individuals. EA harmonizes the data, analyzes and categorizes it, and serves up the information to end user. EA provides business intelligence—EA information can be harvested by BI software to provide valuable analytics; EA synthesizes business and IT information to support decision-making.

Business intelligence from EA is used for “cost optimization, asset maximization, lifecycle management, service delivery, impact analysis, gap analysis, as-is/to-be transformations, etc.” EA enables the CIO to lead by example when it comes to developing and using business intelligence, optimizing the management of IT in support of mission execution.

EA brings information to the table for enhancing decision-making. As W. Edwards Deming said, “In G-d we trust, all others bring data.”


November 17, 2007

Telepresence and Enterprise Architecture

Telepresence is replacing video-teleconferencing, big time.

“Telepresence refers to a set of technologies which allow a person to feel as if they were present, to give the appearance that they were present, or to have an effect, at a location other than their true location.

Telepresence requires that the senses of the user, or users, are provided with such stimuli as to give the feeling of being in that other location. Additionally, the user(s) may be given the ability to affect the remote location. In this case, the user's position, movements, actions, voice, etc. may be sensed, transmitted and duplicated in the remote location to bring about this effect. Therefore information may be travelling in both directions between the user and the remote location.” (Wikipedia)

Fortune Magazine, 12 November 2007 reports that CISCO’s TelePresence product is modeled after Star Trek’s vision of being able to beam people from one place to another (HP has a competing product called Halo).

With TelePresence, “high-def, life-sized, internet-based communications systems,” it’s just like being there. TelePresence is the convergence of video, voice, and data—called, Unified Communications—over the internet, enabling seamless virtual mobility of people from one place to another.

TelePresence works as follows:

  • Displays—“participants appear life size on 65-inch 1080p plasma displays. When additional sites connect, the screens shifts to show the group that is speaking”
  • Cameras—“each two person portion of the room is covered by its own designated high-speed camera.”
  • Audio—“microphones and speakers are set so that sound seems to come from whichever participants in a room are talking.”
  • Data—“projectors mounted beneath the tables can display information from a computer or any other compatible device.”

CISCO believes that “the internet will become the delivery medium of all communications—and eventually everything from security systems and entertainment to health care and education.”

Already 50 large companies have bought the pricey TelePresence system (“List price $299,000 for three 65-inch plasma screens in a special conference room and $71,000 for a single-screen set-up) since launch last winter. P&G is rolling out 40 TelePresence room worldwide over the next nine months and CISCO has rolled out 120 across the company (“paid for by ordering every department to cut its travel budget 20%).

Telepresence allows for reduced travel times and expenditures and increased worker productivity. User-centric EA should consider these benefits to the organization in incorporating it into its target architecture.


November 16, 2007

A Square Envelope and Enterprise Architecture

Would you believe me if I told you that the U.S. Post Office has trouble handling square envelopes? Well, it’s true, and moreover, the post office will actually “charge you a 17-cent surcharge for squareness.” This is called “shape-based postage.” (Wall Street Journal, 15 November 2007)

Why the surcharge? Because the post office sorting machines, “built for oblongs, can’t find the address on a square envelope. [Hence,] people have to do it.” In fact, “at a Manhattan post office…a window clerk…took one look at a square envelope and said ‘nonmachinable. I would not use that shape, period.’”

This is crazy isn’t it; we can put men on the moon, but we can’t send a square envelope easily through the mail system of the United States of America! (FYI, squares are not a problem for the mail system in the United Kingdom.)

I knew that being “square” in the seventies was a bad thing, and maybe even an insult, but what’s up with square now and how does this jive with users needs?

Well in the article, an owner from a graphics company states: “Squares…are the most current and most exciting product in paper communications.” Incredible, that the post office can’t meet their customers’ needs.

Even if squares are still a relatively small percentage of the overall mail (and according to the article they are), that may be because the post office can’t handle the shape versus the overall popularity of it with customers. As another sales rep states: “The post office cracked down…people had bad experiences with square cards. [And] if you put a stigma on something long enough, retailers aren’t going to deal with it anymore.”

So when the post office can’t handle the user needs, the card makers have innovated: “the shop has devised an oblong envelope with a middle pocket that squares slip neatly into.”

This is sounding almost like the post office is making us put a square peg in a round hole.

Just for the record, we shouldn’t blame the good men and women of the U.S. Post Office for the problems with the sorting machines. However, I believe this is clearly a job for User-centric Enterprise Architecture to align post office technology solutions for handling square envelopes with the business requirements for them. Clearly, it’s time for square equality.


November 15, 2007

"Inefficient Government" and Enterprise Architecture

The Wall Street Journal, 10-11 November 2007 reports on an interview with Mitt Romney, Former Massachusetts Governor and U.S. Presidential Candidate 2008:

  • Government is inefficient—“government is almost by necessity inefficient, inflexible, duplicative, wasteful, expensive, and burdensome,”
  • Government structure is wrong—regarding the organization chart of the executive branch, “there’s no corporation in America that would have a CEO, no COO, just a CEO with 30 direct reports, so I would probably have super-cabinet secretaries, or at least some structure that McKinsey would put in place.”
  • Government needs more consultants—“I’m not kidding, I probably would bring in McKinsey…I would consult with the best and the brightest minds, whether it’s McKinsey, Bain, BCG, or Jack Welch.”
  • Government is inaction—“My wife says that watching Washington is like watching to guys in a canoe on a fast-moving river headed to a waterfall and they’re not paddling, they’re just arguing. As they get closer to the waterfall, they’ll finally start to paddle.

Whether or not you completely agree with Mitt Romney or similar commentary and criticisms from other political candidates, pundits, or office holders, there certainly appears to be plenty of work for User-centric EA to tackle.

EA can help government and the private sector to improve efficiency and effectiveness through business process improvement, organizational restructuring, performance measurement, information sharing, and advancing technology solutions for the most difficult business challenges we face.

Also, I’m not sure I agree that we need more consultants or that we already don’t have the “best and brightest” in the millions of government employees and contractors that we already have. It sure seems like we have every consulting company under the sun here in Washington, D.C.—and they all charge a pretty penny :)

True, government is large, but the problems we face are also large—terrorism, world-wide human rights, energy dependence, global warming, global economic competition (from low-wage countries), budget deficits, bankrupted social programs (like social security and Medicare), crisis in healthcare, and so on. It’s easy to criticize, but difficult to come up with constructive solutions. Isn’t that what politics is all about?


November 14, 2007

Polarization of User Demands and Enterprise Architecture

What happens when users want conflicting things from their EA programs?

Recently, as part of a discussion following an EA briefing, I received a number of interesting comments from some users.

While multiple users talked about the EA capturing some terrific EA information that is being used for IT governance and planning, the users wanted the focus of future EA to go in different directions:

  • IT Governance—on one side of the table, one user wanted to see more IT governance and standards and less IT planning (target architecture), “since target architecture should be set by the technical subject matter experts and EA was more of a policy and management function
  • IT planning—across the table, another user wanted to see more IT planning (target architecture) and less IT governance, since “target architecture is the ‘real’ architecture, and the rest was just management.”

This sparked a lot of discussion throughout the room. Someone else asked, “Well, if you could only do one of these things well, which would you choose?” And another asked, “What is your vision for the ultimate direction of the EA program?”

To me, I believe firmly that ultimate answer to these questions is that you really need both IT planning and governance to have a viable EA program.

  • IT planning without governance—is developing and maintaining the baseline, target, and transition plan without using these to influence and drive actual decision-making. The IT plans are shelfware!
  • IT governance without planning—is trying to leverage EA information to support capital planning and investment control (CPIC) and to enhance overall organization-wide decision-making without having the necessary information to support sound decisions.

So at the end of the day, with limited resources, “which would I do?” and “what is my vision?”

You have got to do both IT planning and governance. IT planning is the process and IT governance is the implementation. One without the other would be utterly meaningless.

So with limited resources, we manage expectations and progress in a phased implementation in both areas—continually building and refining the EA information base so it is increasingly relevant (IT planning), and simultaneously, creating effective governance processes to manage IT investments in new projects, products and standards (IT governance). In this way, EA practitioners make the information useful and usable.


Diffusion of Innovation Theory and Enterprise Architecture

According to Everett Rogers’ Diffusion of Innovations (DOI) Theory, adopters of any new innovation or idea can be categorized based on the bell curve, as follows:
  • Innovators (2.5%) — most likely to conceive and develop new methodologies and technologies; the most daring and especially prone to taking risks
  • Early Adopters (13.5%) — a person who embraces new technology before most other people do.
  • Early majority (34%)
  • Late majority (34%)
  • Laggards (Luddites) (16%) — slow or reluctant to embrace new technology; actively fear or loathe new technology, especially those they believe threaten existing jobs.

Each adopter's willingness and ability to adopt an innovation would depend on their awareness, interest, evaluation, trial, and adoption. People could fall into different categories for different innovations -- a farmer might be an early adopter of hybrid corn, but a late majority adopter of VCRs.

When graphed, the rate of adoption formed what came to typify the DOI model, an “s shaped curve.” (S curve) The graph essentially shows a cumulative percentage of adopters over time – slow at the start, more rapid as adoption increases, then leveling off until only a small percentage of laggards have not adopted. (Rogers Diffusion Of Innovations 1983)

From a User-centric EA perspective, each of these user roles is important and needs to be considered in providing useful and useable information products and governance services to them.

On one hand, for the innovators and early adopters, User-centric EA encourages innovation and creativity, but also works to mitigate risk though business and technical alignment and architectural assessment related to sound capital planning & investment control.

On the other hand, for the laggards, User-centric EA set targets for technology adoption and phases in new technology and process according to a transition plan. While EA cannot “make” people less hateful of new technology, it can create a more controlled environment for change management in the enterprise, one which reduces the fear factor. Additionally, by EA demonstrating the benefits to the organization and the individuals therein of new technologies aligned to the mission and strategy of the organization, perhaps those who fear the technology will come around to embrace it.

November 13, 2007

UPS is Enterprise Architecture Fait Accompli

Fortune Magazine, 12 November 2007, has an amazing article about UPS ( a company which last year had $47.5 billion in revenue and 100,000 driving jobs)—they are a flawless example of the integration of people, process, technology, training, and a keen customer focus; a shining example of what enterprise architecture hopes to instill in the organization!

  1. People—“UPS drivers make an average of $75,000 a year, plus an average of $20,000 in health-care benefits and pension, well above the norm for comparable positions at other freight companies.”
  2. ProcessUPS relies on “human engineering” and has “’340 methods’, a detailed manual of rules and routines” that is taught to UPS’s legions of driver candidates. Moreover, detailed metrics are kept on trainees and throughout their professional career at UPS, so that “a supervisor meeting a new driver for the first time will know every single possible thing there is to know about him.”
  3. TechnologyUPS has the delivery information acquisition device (DIAD), their electronic clipboard, “which is GPS-enabled, plans drivers’ routes, records all their deliverables, and is said to rival the iPhone in capability.”
  4. TrainingUPS has opened a new full-service training center, a $34 million, 11,500 square-foot facility, called Integrad. “The facility and curriculum have been shaped over here years by more than 170 people, including UPS executives professors, and design students at Virginia Tech, a team at MIT, forecasters at the Institute for the Future, and animators at an Indian company called Brainvisa.” The facility even has a “slip-and-fall simulator” to safely prepare trainees bodies to be alert to falls, and a UPS “package car” with see-through sides, sensors to measures that forces on trainees joints, and videocameras to record their movements as they lift and lower packages.”
  5. Customer—“What’s new about the company now is that our teaching style matches your learning style. But we’re still taking care of the customer.” UPS is “the world’s largest package–delivery company…delivering an average of over 15 million packages a day.”

“While customers may be at the heart of UPSs business, it’s drivers who are at the heart of UPS itself…watch closely and those deliveries [are] an exhibition of routines so precise they never vary, limbs so trained they need no direction, and words so long remembered, they are like one’s own thoughts.”

UPS has mastered all of the following enterprise architecture aspects or perspectives:

  • BUSINESS—the precision of honed business processes (“340 methods”)
  • PERFORMANCE—the measurement of every critical management aspect, especially as it relates to their all important drivers and their deliveries.
  • INFORMATION—UPS is an information-driven company that captures information, analyzes information, and uses it to train and refine their personnel and operations.
  • SERVICES—business services such as delivery and training are best practice and tailored to meet customer and employee needs.
  • TECHNOLOGY—the UPS electronic clipboard enables the information capture and provision that is needed to continuously meet mission requirements.
While, I don’t love their brown uniforms (that is supposed to hide dirt), to me the successful integration and implementation by UPS of these core architecture factors makes it a case study for EA!

November 12, 2007

National Medal of Technology and Enterprise Architecture

There are a number of awards that encourage advancement in either business, technology, or the general sciences, and these advance the goals of enterprise architecture—which looks to analyze problem areas and uncover gaps, redundancies, inefficiencies, and opportunities and use this for business process reengineering and improvement or to develop technology solutions to advance the enterprise.

An award for technology has been given to individuals from many prestigious companies and universities. For example, in 2006 the National Medal of Technology was awarded to innovators from Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs, MIT, John Hopkins University, and Purdue University.

National Medal of Technology—“The National Medal of Technology is the highest honor awarded by the President of the United States to America’s leading innovators. Established by an act of Congress in 1980, the Medal of Technology was first awarded in 1985. The Medal is given annually to individuals, teams, and/or companies/divisions for their outstanding contributions to the Nation’s economic, environmental and social well-being through the development and commercialization of technology products, processes and concepts; technological innovation; and development of the Nation’s technological manpower.

The purpose of the National Medal of Technology is to recognize those who have made lasting contributions to America's competitiveness, standard of living, and quality of life through technological innovation, and to recognize those who have made substantial contributions to strengthening the Nation’s technological workforce. By highlighting the national importance of technological innovation, the Medal also seeks to inspire future generations of Americans to prepare for and pursue technical careers to keep America at the forefront of global technology and economic leadership.” (

Aside from awards for technology innovation, there have been awards for improving the business of government. For example, under Vice President Al Gore and the sponsorship of the National Partnership for Reinventing Government, there was the Hammer Award.

Hammer Awards— The Hammer Award is presented to teams of federal employees who have made significant contributions in support of reinventing government principles. The Award is the Vice President's answer to yesterday's government and its $400 hammer. Fittingly, the award consists of a $6.00 hammer, a ribbon, and a note from Vice President Gore, all in an aluminum frame. More than 1,200 Hammer Awards have been presented to teams comprised of federal employees, state and local employees, and citizens who are working to build a better government.


Other awards such as the National Medal of Science offer recognition to more general advancements in any of the fields of science.

National Medal of Science— The National Medal of Science was established by the 86th Congress in 1959 as a Presidential Award to be given to individuals "deserving of special recognition by reason of their outstanding contributions to knowledge in the physical, biological, mathematical, or engineering sciences." In 1980 Congress expanded this recognition to include the social and behavioral sciences. (

From a User-centric EA perspective, these awards are perfectly aligned with driving enhanced organizational performance whether from the perspective of the business functions and processes, technology innovation, and scientific areas that could progress information sharing, IT security, performance execution, and organizational change. The awards offer recognition at the highest level of government and inspire, promote, and reward major contributions to technology, business, and general scientific advancement, which advances society and help to make us more competitive in the global marketplace.


November 11, 2007

Teamwork and Enterprise Architecture

User-centric EA helps people in the enterprise work together as a team, rather than in individual or functional silos.

EA helps foster teamwork by:

  • Information Transparency: creating repositories of information that everyone can use and share
  • Bridging Disparate Parts of the Enterprise: aligning business and information technology and thereby bridging the gap between operations and support in the organization
  • Showing People Where They Fit: Modeling business processes, information requirements, and technology solutions, so all users and entities in the organization understand where and how they fit.
  • Consolidating and Coordinating a Common Way Ahead: developing consolidated strategies, enterprise plans and solutions versus individual or stove-piped ones.

How does teamwork help an enterprise succeed?

Well for one, teams are where most innovations takes place and innovation and creativity are key for an organization to survive and thrive.

The Wall Street Journal in conjunction with MIT Sloan School of Management on 15 September 2007 reports that “most companies assume that innovation comes from an individual genius or small, sequestered teams. Yet…most innovations are created through networks—groups of people working in concert. To lay the groundwork, organizations must make it easy for employees to talk to their peers, share ideas, and collaborate. Among other strategies, companies should make an effort to break down the walls between company departments and rapidly test and refine ideas.”

Also, teams are where ideas are shared and vetted. You get a better end-product by valuing individual and cultural diversity and hearing opposing points of view.

EA benefits from and contributes to teamwork and innovation by bringing together, documenting and making transparent information, planning, and governance across the enterprise. This aids people in sharing ideas, projects, products, and standards, and in capitalizing on sound innovations by developing these into new IT investments and possibly enterprise solutions. EA, teamwork, and innovation go hand-in-hand.


November 10, 2007

Workaholics and Enterprise Architecture

How do you know when you are a “toxic” workaholic?

Fortune Magazine, 12 November 2007, identifies 4 “bad signs” of workaholism from psychologist, executive coach, and author Debra Condren:

  1. Marital conflict—“you and your spouse fight about your hours”; this goes beyond the occasional late nighter or weekend stint, when “the expectation is that when work abates, family will once again get top billing.”
  2. Child neglect—“your kids stop inviting you to their birthday parties. Eventually family members [especially the kids] learn not to count on [you].”
  3. Staff rebellion—“your employees sneak out of work. Toxic bosses make everyone around them feel bad about having a life.”
  4. In sickness and in health—“you work when ill. The worst cases think they are the only ones who can get things done.”

I’d add to this list that if you are feeling bad (i.e. overly stressed or burdened and not good about what your doing and how your living your life), your conscience is trying to tell you something.

I read a book recently that said no one at the end of their lives wished they had spent more time in the office, but often they do look back with tremendous regret at not having spent more time with family, friends, and at worship.

All this doesn’t mean to take away from having a full, meaningful professional life and being a productive human being. No one should have to miss out on the opportunity to challenge oneself and “give back” something to society—gratis is nice, but then again there’s the mortgage :)

The key is to be able to balance your personal and professional life. If you can’t do that then eventually it ALL falls apart anyway. So every person has to take control of their lives and live them to their fullest and that means taking care of what’s really important, including yourself and your loved ones!

I had a terrific boss in Enterprise Architecture who used to say, this is “best effort” i.e. don’t “kill yourself” over the assignment, just do your best. And that’s really “IT”, just do YOUR best. You don’t have to be superhuman or try to meet the often unrealistic demands or succumb to the ill-wishing of others. At work, just do your honest best, look out for the interests of the enterprise take care of your people, and the rest will follow.


November 9, 2007

Microsoft Crashes and Enterprise Architecture

The Wall Street Journal, 31 October 2007 states that “the error-reporting service built into the Windows operating system is a massive global network for speaking truth to power.” When a Windows program crashes, you get the pop-up offering to “tell Microsoft about this problem.”

On busy days, “50 gigabytes of data from these error reports stream into Microsoft… [where] two dozen programmers are charged with monitoring them.”

Microsoft won’t tell you which of their programs crash the most, although Internet Explorer and Windows Explorer seem likely bets, while at the other extreme, Word and Excel “seem like Gibraltar.”

A Microsoft article, “Crash Protect Your PC Now!” (article id 835565) states:

“You’ve probably been there. You’re happily working away in Windows when suddenly everything freezes for no apparent reason. Maybe you’ve pressed [Ctrl] + [Alt] + [Delete] and managed to end the troublesome task and get on with things, but even if your machine hasn’t locked solid you’ve still lost at best a few minutes’ work, and at worst an entire document. We hate to tell you this, but the problem isn’t necessarily one with your PC either – many crashes are caused by poor use of your computer’s resources, or too many program installations that took place while you left half-a-dozen other programs running in the background.”

Some reasons Microsoft gives for the system crashes:

  • Faulty hardware (sort of figures Microsoft would say that and say it first)
  • BIOS updates— “hardware problems can be solved by BIOS updates. This is because of the specification that all hardware is built to is open to some interpretation.”
  • Driver updates— “if you’re being plagued by crashes and you haven’t updated your drivers for a while, this could well be the solution – 40 per cent of crashes are caused by poor drivers. Of course, if your machine is fine at the moment, updating the drivers may actually introduce problems, or fix one problem and introduce another.”
  • Software problems— “the other reason your machine will crash, and this is definitely the most likely cause, is due to software…. There are two main reasons that software can crash - either it can’t gain access to a resource that it needs (such as memory), or it contains a bug… One of the main reasons a program crashes is because it can’t obtain enough memory from the OS to complete an operation….Another reason programs are prone to tripping up on the memory front is that the memory becomes fragmented the longer you leave your machine on.

What does Microsoft tell you to do?

Prepare! “Prepare yourself for crashes by saving regularly and often, and to keep the amount of programs running to a minimum.”

What does User-centric EA tell us to do?

I love Microsoft, but maybe it’s time to consider having the IT Investment Review Board let Microsoft know what they think about all the system crashes by voting with the organization’s wallet and spending project dollars on alternatives that offer application stability and reliability. 50 gigabytes of streaming data reports on a busy day is just about 50 gigabytes too much!


November 8, 2007

Five Stages of Grief and Enterprise Architecture

“The Kübler-Ross model describes, in five discrete stages, the process by which people deal with grief and tragedy. Terminally ill patients are said to experience these stages. The model was introduced by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her 1969 book "On Death and Dying". The stages have become well-known as the "Five Stages of Grief.

The stages are:

  1. Denial: The initial stage: ‘It can't be happening.’
  2. Anger: ‘Why ME? It's not fair!’ (either referring to God, oneself, or anybody perceived, rightly or wrongly, as "responsible")
  3. Bargaining: ‘Just let me live to see my child(ren) graduate.’
  4. Depression: ‘I'm so sad, why bother with anything?’
  5. Acceptance: ‘It's going to be OK.’

Kübler-Ross originally applied these stages to any form of catastrophic personal loss (job, income, freedom). This also includes the death of a loved one and divorce. Kübler-Ross also claimed these steps do not necessarily come in order, nor are they all experienced by all patients, though she stated a person will always experience at least two.” (Wikipedia)

The fives stages of grief have been applied by others to organizational change. For example, Deone Zell in the article, "Organizational Change as a Process of Death, Dying, and Rebirth" (The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, Vol. 39, No.1, 73-96, 2003) makes the case that the change process closely resembled that of death and dying idenified by Kubler-Ross.

Further, the Army’s Enterprise Solution Competency Center (ESCC) has applied the stages to grief to the Army’s core business missions going through an Enterprise Resources Planning (ERP) or Continuous Business Process Improvement (CBPI) initiative to understand human response to change management. Additionally, they provide helpful suggestions for how to respond to these. (

What we see is that the human response to change is closely aligned to how people respond when something bad happens—i.e. people associate change with something bad happening to them. Therefore, to manage change, we need to understand the human responses as developed by Kubler-Ross, as well as the suggested ways to overcome those, such as presented by the Army ESCC.

User-centric EA is a planning and governance endeavor which by definition involves change and the management of change. Thus, EA practitioners need to understand human response to change and how to effectively deal with it.

Some important examples from Army ESCC of how to respond:

  1. Denial: “emphasize that change will happen.” and “allow time for change to sink in.”
  2. Anger: “distinguish between feelings and inappropriate behavior” and “redirect the blame from the change agent to the real reason necessitating the change (goals of the organization/business case)”
  3. Bargaining: “focus on how the individual or their area will benefit from the change.”
  4. Depression: “provide a series of specific next steps and follow-up frequently” and “reinforce positive actions the individual takes.”
  5. Acceptance: “use the individual as a coach or mentor for others” and “provide recognition for their efforts.”