Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen – Enterprise Architecture Compliance Required

Does it ever seem that as an Enterprise Architect, we have many dragons to slay? Our organizations confuse the Chief Architect with chief technology problem solver, and it isn’t their fault. Often the current technology hot spot of the day is something that lives in the EA realm, and we are the captain of the ship.

We’ve had many metaphors – the Builder, the Architect of a house, the City Planner, or perhaps the Pilot of an airplane or ship (thanks Mr. Zachman!). Here is mine:

An organization, when embarking on an EA program, needs a cook. They need to mix some things up to create a tantalizing dish. There is not often one recipe, but several that might suit the ingredients you have at hand. At some point, depending on the size of the organization, you may find that there are too many cooks in the kitchen, and a chef de maison, or Head Chef is required. The chef will prepare the menu, and ensure that the restaurant has the ingredients at hand.

What the cooks do to add flavor and seasoning may be their choice, or it may be strictly regulated. The McDonalds restaurant does much to ensure that their food tastes the same each and every time. Some restaurants to do – these are not chains, but individual “spots” for a bite out.

Sometimes, there are too many cooks in the kitchen. As of late, I’ve seen several folks try their hand at mixing and matching SDLC’s. The chief architect may or not get involved from a standards perspective, or from a governance and compliance issue with respect to artifacts. There is no “right” SDLC. The facts are simple – too many cooks will ruin the soup – too many flavors will confuse the issue.

One recipe may be selected for the best “dish of the house”. There is room to decide whether the head chef is creating the meal depending on the appetite. If there is appetite for chateau briande, so be it. The SDLC will be complex with many options. If there is only appetite for deli or fast food, or perhaps even the corner restaurant that sells burgers and fries, the SDLC must be simple with few key artifacts and simple methods.

Chefs – the choice is yours. Remember, if there are too many cooks in the kitchen, there will be a fire!

Happy Architecting.

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