It is amusing that the first part of this book to be read is the last part to be written.
It provides, however, an opportunity to share with you a little about how writing
and editing this book has changed my thinking not just about enterprise architecture
(EA), or about the role of information technology (IT) and IT professionals in
organizations, or even about enterprises themselves; although, certainly, all those
evolved too during this journey of discovery.
Writing about an emerging discipline like EA is kind of like writing about the
life history of a person when he or she is only ten years old — so much hope and
promise, but not much time yet for actualization. Perhaps that is a bit of hyperbole
since it has been over 20 years since the first article was published proposing how
the principles of architecture and engineering could and should be applied to managing
organizations and their ITs. That’s equivalent to about 1945 in the history
of the quality movement, or about 40 years before “Quality is Job 1” became the
advertising slogan for a major U.S. auto manufacturer. Or maybe 1800 in the history
of the Industrial Age, when there were about 500 steam engines, pretty much
all residing in England, and none of them working all that well.
Still, EA practices and tools progressed appreciably these past 20 years and we
see significant advantages and improvements in those organizations investing their
time, monies, and talents in EA-related activities. Yet these are the exceptions and
largely invisible to the managers of most organizations, much like the IT-enabled
strategic advantages that transformed companies and industries were invisible to
most as they began to emerge in the late 1960s. So while working on this book,
my appreciation grew for the intellectual revolutions that accompany technological
ones, as did my patience, for it is one thing to invent or acquire a game-changing
idea or technology, but quite another to discover the ways to use it well.