20 Key Concepts Every Enterprise Architects Should Know

This article written by Alex Matthews (@remembermytweet)

OK, so here is a quick brainstorm of key concepts that every EA should know. It is literally a 5 minute brainstorm exercise so I expect that there are huge gaps. I strongly encourage you to comment and let me know what (glaringly obvious things) I have missed. :-) Once the list is settled I plan to go on and provide a brief overview of each of these concepts. I use at least a part of each of these models in just about every project.

(Please note that these skills deliberately ignore the technology skill set that an EWITA will need. Tom Graves has already written the definitive explanation of the Enterprise Wide IT Architecture (EWITA) vs Architecture of the Whole Enterprise (AWE) debate, so please go there if you aren’t yet aware of what I’m getting at here.)

  1. Porter’s value chain
  2. Allee’s value networks
  3. Porter’s 5 forces or 6 forces model
  4. Tracey & Wiersema value disciplines
  5. Kaplan & Norton’s Strategy Maps & Balanced Scorecard (see video link below)
  6. Green’s VPEC-T model
  7. Ostwalder’s Business Model Canves & Graves’ Enterprise Canvas
  8. Beer’s Viable System Model & POSIWID (the purpose of the system is what it does)
  9. McKinsey‘s 7-S model
  10. Boston Consulting Group‘s Growth Share Matrix
  11. Kim’s Blue Ocean
  12. John Kotter‘s 8-step change method & ADKAR
  13. Rockart’s KPI’s, Drucker’s Management by Objectives, Jenner’s Realising Benefits & Ward andDaniel’s Benefits Dependency networks
  14. Boyd’s OODA loop
  15. Mintzberg’s 10 Strategy Type’s (Strategy Safari)
  16. Analysis by acronym: PESTLE, SWOT, STEEPLE
  17. Scenario Planning
  18. ISO 31000 Risk Management
  19. Venkatraman’s Strategic Alignment
  20. Stakeholder Analysis & mapping
  21. Industry standard project and program management methods (PRINCE2, MSP, PMBOK, etc)

Other people’s suggestions.

22. Process Management: Basics at least. Lean and Six Sigma useful. – Thanks to Doug Newdick

23. basic accountancy concepts (opex vs capex, depreciation etc) – Thanks to Doug Newdick

24. Pacelayering: Different parts of the enterprise evolve at different rates. An important and often neglected dimension of enterprise architecture is time. Often, architects assume a constant rate of change across their entire architecture; or worse, fail to address the issue of rate of change at all.- Thanks to Richard Veryard

25. Deconfliction: designing systems and operations to reduce conflict and interference. – Thanks to Richard Veryard (http://rvsoapbox.blogspot.com.au/2008/03/what-is-deconfliction.html)

26. Multi-sidedness: A modern enterprise often operates in multiple markets, and satisfies overlapping needs for numerous stakeholders. The emerging architectural response to this challenge is to configure the enterprise as a platform of services, rather than as a traditional value chain. – Thanks to Richard Veryard (http://rvsoapbox.blogspot.com.au/2012/02/talks-on-enterprise-architecture-next.html)

  • Management with Metrics: Understanding the Balanced Scorecard (dartonequation.com)
  • A Real-Life OODA Loop (aleksandreia.com)
  • What Is Strategy? (mikearauz.wordpress.com)
  • Change Management Models, Stakeholder Analysis & Capacity Building in Corporate Reforms (slideshare.net)
  • The Future of the Balanced Scorecard (bjconquest.com)
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