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!!! All powerful EA !!!

You might have noticed in yesterday’s blog that ideally Enterprise Architecture should be able to dictate the solution architecture for programs they are engaged in. I also stated that this seems only likely in Chief Architects’ dreams. But let’s dream a little.

The simple reason I believe EA should have that kind of decision power is that I believe in clear roles & responsibilities across organizations/teams. A good laid out roles and responsibility (R&R) framework should not have overlapping decision rights. Teams can have overlapping responsibilities but not accountabilities or decision rights. This eliminates all the decisioning churn that costs valuable time and resources. Unfortunately, defining clear R&Rs is a serious effort and requires people to give up control and trust others. This does not bode well with the typical “I must have decision rights on anything that could affect me” attitude of most managers.

In the above fantasy world of clear R&Rs there is still need for a hierarchy in decision making. In other words who at what level needs to bless decisions that will require a certain amount of resources/budget. But who in that hierarchy gets to make decisions for which type of work again should be very clearly defined.

My philosophy here goes back to one of my favorite architecture principles. Keep it simple. There is a well known model to follow (that should be as simple as we can make it) that everyone knows and boom we make fast decisions. If someone in the system makes really bad decisions I’m hoping their boss realizes it and makes the appropriate changes.

Now back to reality. Decision making processes will most likely be unclear and any disagreement will need to be solved between the disagreeing party’s managers. Thus I always tell folks “escalate, escalate, escalate”. Don’t get into some analysis paralysis churn that people ask for because they can’t agree based on the “current” data. Force your bosses to make decisions. If they send you back to do more analysis it's time to find a new job.

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