More worst practices of Enterprise Architects

05Jan09

James McGovern came up with a good starter for 10, but since he called me out to add some more here goes:

  1. Ignoring Pareto – many enterprise architects end up becoming the creators of internal ‘standards’, and then become the standards cops. All too often the 80:20 rule is ignored (and in fact this tends to be more like 90:10 for many things IT), which results in an application being shoehorned into an inappropriate ‘standard’ platform, or the platform squished out of shape to accept an application that shouldn’t be there. Good architects are the masters of good exception processes.
  2. Thinking linear scalability will be enough (or worse aspiring to linear scalability). It won’t be – too many things in the real world follow power laws, and it’s no coincidence that the systems we build to model them and manage them also need to scale accordingly. Of course Moore’s law is itself a power law, and many have relied upon it to get them out of trouble, but the terrain is getting muddy as we go from single cores following Moore’s law to multi-core systems and the need to design expressly parallel applications.
  3. Too many patterns, and not enough understanding of antipatterns and how we get into them. If I pick up a patterns book then there’s sure to be stuff in there where I’ll wonder how it ever could be used, if I pick up an antipattern book I’ll be able to think of at least one application that’s fallen into every trap. My view is that there’s more value in avoiding the holes than there is to staying on the path.
  4. Thinking that the laws of software development only apply to other people, particularly Conway’s law when dealing with any organisation large enough to have people that call themselves enterprise architects.


4 Responses to “More worst practices of Enterprise Architects”

  1. 1 danmihalache

    Hi, Chris,
    I’m Dan Mihalache and I’m architect in Iaşi, Romania.
    You are right. Architects, like the others, are idler. Not to spend the whole day at computer or drawing board or buildingyard, but to think. In fact, the mission of the architect is to create, not to draw. Architecture is an art and a science, but more, must combine the science and the art syncretically, to emphathyse (is it corect in english?) with the client, to think and to feel what the client is not prepared to know or feel. But yes, nowaday there are models, there are patterns, why to whittle yourself?
    Here in Romania it is an additional reason: although we have minimal legal pricess, nobody keep to them. The clients, upstart (nouveau riche, becouse it’s very hard to bild here with an average income) incline to spent a lot of money for luxurious for construction stuffs or expensive cars, but not to pay the architect or the designer; they think if they were smart (tricky) enough to make money they are more clever than the architect. And so they do cheep and blunder projects, spend a lot of additional money and obtain improper and unsuitable buildings.
    Best regards,
    Dan.

  2. 2 julian l

    Reading the above comment – and I realise that the domain of architects in the traditional meaning of the word may hold some interesting lessons for us technologists.

  3. 3 danmihalache

    Yes, Julian, everybody must learn and use technology, mathematics, physics, psychology, aesthetics – and every domain develops daily. Without my computer and internet I should change my profession. But the computer and internet are simple instruments, inestimable – but instruments. Stuccture calculation is a domain for the engineers, but for me is also an instrument as well as for the engineers architecture is an instument.
    If I’d have your mail adress I’d send you a graphic of aquantance in different epochs. Nowaday aquantance is, indeed – not only inconceivable without computer and high technology – but in a revolutionary progress as never before.
    Cheers, Dan. (and the same to Chris).

  4. 4 danmihalache

    Excuse for my poor English


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