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What’s Wrong with Enterprise Architects?

By December 19, 2023EA Practice Advisor

Well, that got your attention!  You need to read the rest of this article because we need you to act.  Why you ask? 

We are allowing people who know nothing about our discipline to take control of what and who we are.  We are allowing these people to erode the value to enterprise architecture by their gross lack of understanding of what enterprise architecture is, what enterprise architects do and what roles are required in organisations to derive optimal value out of enterprise architecture work.

The biggest challenge we have right now is that we do not set up our hiring managers for success.  The last time I worked in corporates, I was responsible for defining the roles and responsibilities of my team.  It was up to me to design the Enterprise Architecture team structure, define the roles required to fill the team and work with the recruitment team to find incredibly talented individuals.  So, we can’t blame the HR department or the horribly worded job ads for the mess we find ourselves in.  What we see today in job advertisements is a symptom of a much broader problem and sadly it begins with us. And it is only us, Enterprise Architects within our broader community, that can fix this problem.

Figure 1: Examples of poorly written enterprise architecture roles taken off LinkedIn

Just imagine if you wanted an architect to build your home but you ended up hiring a Civil Engineer.  They both design stuff, right?  Of course, you are sitting here thinking – ‘how ridiculous!  It’s plain to see that these are both completely different jobs!’  Well why would you hire an SAP Solution Architect to do the work of an Enterprise Architect?  They both need design skills, but the work they do and the things they make are completely different, just like a building architect should never be designing roads.

Figure 2: Roles based on typical domains used to describe an Enterprise Architecture

What are we going to do about this then and what is your call to action?  We need to agree a framework for enterprise architecture roles, like the one shown below. It’s not a perfect model, but it is a place to start defining roles and pathways for individuals to develop strong careers in Enterprise Architecture.  We need to describe what each of the following roles make and why it is different to other roles in enterprise architecture.  We need to suggest to people how to combine career planning and recruitment successfully to stand up strong performing teams.

What we need is a group of people who are interested in refining this model so that we can collectively establish a framework, internationally, to improve the discipline of enterprise architecture and to bring credibility and value back to the very important work that we do.

Figure 3: An adapted framework for enterprise architecture career pathways (Carr, D 2015)

If you would like to contribute to this piece of work, please reach out to Darryl Carr or me, Dr Christine Stephenson via LinkedIn messages.  We would love to connect with you.

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