The Art of Enterprise Architecture – Section Six – Strengths and weaknesses

The architects who are first in the field and awaits the coming of the problem, will be fresh for the task; the architects who are second in the field and has to react to the problem will be worn out by the task. Therefore the clever architect imposes his will on the problem, but does not allow the problem’s will to be imposed on him.

By showing the advantages to stakeholders, the architects can cause stakeholders to approach of their own accord; or, by displaying poor possibility of value, the architects can discourage the stakeholders. If the stakeholders of the problem is taking their ease, we can engage them to awaken them to the reality we occupy; if we are well supported by senior management, we can force them out of their state of complacent into action according to our way; if quietly encamped, we can shift their environment and thus force them to move in the direction we want. The architect should appear at problems which the stakeholders must hasten to address; move swiftly to problems where he are not expected.

An architect may cover many areas of the whole enterprise architecture without distress, if he works on domains where the internal politics is not a major player. An architect can be sure of succeeding in his work if he choose wisely to work on problems which are championed by a sponsor. An architect can ensure the success of the architecture if he only guard positions that cannot be questioned. Hence that architect is skillful in work whose opponent does not know what to defend; and he is skillful in defense whose opponent does not know what to attack.

Through the divine art of subtlety and secrecy we learn to be invisible and inaudible; and hence we can hold our fate in our hands. We may advance and be absolutely irresistible, if we make for the problem’s weak points; we may retire and be safe from changes if our movements are more rapid than those of the environment.

If we wish to engage, the stakeholder can be forced to an engagement even though he be sheltered behind politics and lack of funds. All we need to do is engage some other piece of the problem that he will be obliged to relieve. If we do not wish to engage, we can prevent the stakeholder from engaging us even though it is clear we are free to do the work. All we need do is to use governance such that the stakeholder does the work himself. By discovering the stakeholders dispositions and remaining indifferent ourselves, we can keep our architecture focused, while the stakeholders must be divided.

We can form a single united body, while the stakeholders must split up into fractions. Hence there will be a whole pitted against separate parts of a whole, which means that we shall be many to the stakeholders few. Knowing the place and the time of the coming possibilities and problems, we may concentrate from the greatest distances in order to engage properly. Though the stakeholders may be strong in numbers, we may prevent them from overwhelming us. Scheme so as to discover their plans and the likelihood of their success. Rouse them, and learn the principle of their activity. Force them to reveal themselves, so as to find out their true desires.

Carefully compare the problem with your solution, so that you may know where strength is superabundant and where it is deficient.

Do not repeat the tactics which have gained you one victory, but let your methods be regulated by the infinite variety of circumstances.

Water shapes its course according to the nature of the ground over which it flows; the architect works out his design in relation to the stakeholders whom he is facing. Therefore, just as water retains no constant shape, so in architecture there are no constant conditions. The architect who can modify his tactics in relation to his stakeholders and thereby succeed in designing appropriate solutions, may be called a heaven-born captain.

The five elements (water, fire, wood, metal, earth) are not always equally predominant; the four seasons make way for each other in turn. There are short days and long; the moon has its periods of waning and waxing.

You can read Section One here: section-one-strategy

You can read Section Two here: section-two-doing-architecture

You can read Section Three here: section-three-planning-the-architecture

You can read Section Four here: section-four-tactical-dispositions

You can read Section Four Five here: section-five-directing-energy

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 “http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Art_of_War_(Sun)”. I consider the text above a work in progress…

Advertisements

6 thoughts on “The Art of Enterprise Architecture – Section Six – Strengths and weaknesses

  1. The Five Elements (‘wu xing’) can be cross-mapped in a business-context to Tuckman’s Group Dynamics project-lifecycle as follows:
    – wood: Purpose; ‘forming’
    – fire: People; ‘storming’
    – earth: Preparation; ‘norming’
    – metal: Process; ‘performing’
    – water: Performance; ‘adjourning’

    I’ve used this mapping as the basis for several aspects of my enterprise-architecture work, such as in my 2008 book ‘Real Enterprise Architecture’.

    As I described in my 2010 book ‘Mapping the enterprise’, there’s also another useful cross-map to Nigel Green’s well-known VPEC-T model (values, policies, events, content, trust).

    Given those cross-maps, it makes even more sense to say that “The five elements (water, fire, wood, metal, earth) are not always equally predominant”: they form cycles and other dynamics within the overall structures and activities of the enterprise.

    1. Thanks for the excellent information Tom. I’ll make sure to investigate these sources further as I rework the entire 14 sections prior to finalizing the complete work.

  2. Hi Jörgen,

    nicely written (a bit tough to read though:). Once I took the time to understand better what you’ve written, it makes a lot of sense.
    The style of writting reminds me for some reason martial arts, good job:)

    cheers

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s