The Art of Enterprise Architecture – Section One – Strategy

The art of enterprise architecture is of vital importance to the organization. It is a matter of success and failure, a road either to prosperity or to ruin. Hence it is a subject of inquiry which can on no account be neglected. The art of enterprise architecture, then, is governed by five factors, to be taken into account in one’s deliberations, when seeking to determine the conditions obtaining in the market.

These are:

1. The Code of Conduct causes the people to be in complete accord with the grander vision, so that they will follow through on the set mission. It is the guidance needed to assure that we have a commonality in our core values. It is the yardstick by which we measure our selves and others.

2. The Cycles of Time signifies the shifting agendas throughout a quarter, a year or sometimes more. Think of these as seasons that come and go. Over a short period of time say a year you may find a budget cycle, a change in local markets or hiring and firing. Over a medium length period of time say some three to eight years you may find strategic themes,  change in regional markets and revolving customer loyalty. Over a long period of time as well as on what appears as in an instant you may find changes in global markets, revolutionizing business models and extreme shifts in behavior. Just remember that the cycles of time twist and turn, intermingle and churn, don’t expect them to be what they appear to be at first glance.

3. The Environment must be assessed so you know how difficult a task it will be, how much time you have and what resources should be leveraged across the domain. It will help you understand the validity of the expectations set forth by the stakeholders such that you may make wise a choice on taking on the problem or leaving it alone.

4. The Leadership should be based on experience, trustworthiness, understanding and compassion. Since enterprise architecture is both a profession and a description of an expected result of enacting that profession it is best to understand these virtues on both parallels.

5. The Discipline needed to work advantage out of enterprise architecture means that great effort and resource must be put to good use. The division of labor and applied knowledge of tools and methods must be funneled in the direction of the mission at hand by strong adherence to dynamic thinking.

These five factors should be familiar to every enterprise architect: he who knows them will be successful; he who knows them not will fail. Therefore, in your assessments, when seeking to determine the conditions, let them be made the basis of a comparison.

1. Which of the architects, designers and builders are applying the Code of conduct?

2. Which of the architects, designers and builders has most ability?

3. Which of the architects, designers and builders has the advantages derived from applying knowledge of the cycles of time and the environment?

4. Which architects, designers and builders is most disciplined in its delivery?

5. Which architects, designers and builders is stronger?

6. Which architects, designers and builders have the most skillful and experienced architects?

7. In which architects, designers and builders is there the greater constancy both in reward and punishment?

While heeding the profit of my counsel, avail yourself also of any helpful circumstances over and beyond the ordinary rules. According as circumstances are favorable, one should modify one’s plans.

Now the architect who creates a good architecture makes many designs before the solution is designed. The architect who fails to create a good architecture makes but few designs beforehand. Thus do many designs lead to success, and few designs to failure: how much more no calculation at all! It is by attention to this point that we can foresee who is likely to succeed or fail.

The text above is based upon the writings of Sun Tzu in the Art of War. Several translations has been read prior to writing the text above, but the most prominently used translation is the one retrieved from “”. I consider the text above a work in progress…


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