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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Do you know what your IT people are doing?

If you work for a large company, you will may have hundreds if not thousands of people in your IT organization with job titles that boggle the mind of mere mortals.  Do you have "Enterprise Architects"? How about BI Architects or BI Analysts?  How about "Solutions Developer" (aka programmer). 

How many "architects" do you have?  There was a well intentioned set of methodologies based on the work of J.A. Zachman and his 1987 IBM Systems Journal article entitled: "A Framework for Information Systems Architecture".  Today several major consulting organizations and universities have "methodologies" and teach "enterprise architecture".  Sadly like most of the products that come out of the university or research environment they have great ideas and concepts but lack the practical experience and reality to make it commercially viable.

It is critical for someone who has no investment in your organization structure or bias to any specific methodologies to  conduct an objective assessment of what your IT people actually do.  I think you will find that while they kill trees (at least electronic trees today) with millions of words written the majority of these people produce little of any value to your organization.  Your CIO often embraces methodologies that are popular feeling that he or she has covered their proverbial tails by adopting methodologies that sound credible to other managers and executives. 

Often the average business executive wants to compare IT people, roles and training to engineering or other professions where their college curriculums are precise and meaningful.  After 50 years, IT jobs remain voodoo and black magic.

You can take the best elements of various methodologies and apply them to your business, but you must do so with a thorough understanding  of the methodology and how it works or should be adjusted to fit to your organization.  Perhaps entire sections should be thrown away. 

I am a huge advocate of methodology, but I am an advocate of creating methodologies that fit your organization and work for you.  I am totally opposed to following frameworks from various "experts" as is and not questioning what they recommend or how it makes sense for you.

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