Glenn Engstrand

How to Keep Your Software Architecture Job

I recently attended a presentation from Gene Leganza (Vice President of Forrester Research, Inc.) entitled Six Trends for EA Professionals. EA is short for the term Enterprise Architecture which is a fancy way of saying that not only should we formalize and make decisions about how our complicated software should be organized but also how our development process is organized and that both of these organization structures should be designed to advance the strategic objectives of the hosting organization.

Some of these trends are driven by the global recession and some of the trends are driven by inertia in the advancement and expanding corporate awareness and appreciation for the field of Enterprise Architecture itself. With each trend, he also stated an action item. Obviously, this presentation was targeting professional enterprise architects.

  • Belts are going to be tightening. Budgets are going to be shrinking. So, learn to do more with less. If things look drastic enough, then hide your best people in the profit centers of the company in the hopes of regrouping later.
  • Learn to focus on what is important. So, no more introduction of process, tool, or technology because of its coolness factor. Rather, you must justify each change in terms of the bottom line. Focus on what is important and optimize for that.
  • He also talked up application strategy road maps a lot. This is a fancy way of saying that if you don’t have a plan that shows how your development is achieving business strategic objectives to C level players in the company, then your development efforts are going to get cut.
  • There was also some interesting general EA trends that he discussed. Technology strategy and business strategy need to become more integrated and aligned. I hope that you are seeing a sort of a mega trend in these six trends by now.
  • He talked up Business Process Management a lot. BPM is an umbrella term for what used to be called workflow, Enterprise Application Integration, and Content Management. He advised to develop or enhance your BPM COE (Centers of Excellence) which is a fancy way of saying that BPM is important enough to assign it to a group of people who will get a bad annual review if the company doesn’t start producing intelligent BPM.
  • The final advice/trend is for embracing more SOA or Service Oriented Architecture. This is a way of designing your application functionality for the purposes of optimizing reusability and interoperability by organizing it into a collection of stateless services over a standards compliant calling mechanism and wire protocol.

There is one other interesting point about this presentation. It was held in Second Life.

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