Wednesday, 21 February 2018


I recently attended a one-day Systems Architecture course that the organisation was putting on.

Now, this thing was only an appreciation of the concept, and only a very basic overview of where the organisation is wanting to go, but it was a one day course.  One day.

Now, you might think that's fair enough, it's only an appreciation.  The content and feedback forms suggested that it was  expected to be implemented off that one day of input.

I don't know if it's me and if I'm thick (I probably am), but it really struck me that this is a very complex area that was being taught at breakneck pace.  For me, someone with extensive experience in business change, a Masters in Project Management and the full-on BCS International Business Diploma - if I felt that, how must other people on the course have felt?  Sounds highly negative, right?  Not at all, I'm just being realist about it.  I formally learned BA in two weeks, but it took me years of reading and re-reading the material to really get it right.  I spent two years getting my MSc in PM and during that time I read and practiced like crazy to understand it - but I got a really good masters result because I worked to apply, reflect and really engage with the material (I actually won business masters of the year for my efforts).

So, what did I pick up on the one-day thing?  Actually, a fair bit, but I think that for most people, that info will have gone "bye bye" by the next day.  There are some really good architectural frameworks that BA stuff and other things that I've done in the past can be nailed onto.  So, where you're looking at a TOGAF/MODAF/whatever framework, the BA elicitation, requirements engineering, modelling, questioning, analysis skills and MSc PM critical thinking skills fit nicely in with that frame.  The frame effectively gives an order of operations and a structure to the BA stuff.

What will be the upshot of trying to implement this in our organisation?  It's a great concept and it does need to be taken forward.  I just fear that it'll not be backed up with the relevant support and additional training.  It'll effectively become a 'form filling in exercise', rather than a deep understanding of the business systems and what needs to change.  What concerns me is that the main part of thinking, questioning, looking at the wider picture will be missed in favour of the bureaucracy.  It'll fall into disrepute because of that, and it'll fail.  I don't want it to fail, but frankly I'm tired out from banging the drum but the effective outcome as people telling me to keep the noise down.  Make the mistakes, you'll just have to fail and learn that way.

Which architectural framework is best?  Well, I've only given architecture a very simple looking at, but as my Masters research highlighted about Project Management frameworks, "Pick one and then all follow it" is likely to be my advice.

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