Dummying it Down
The definition of the word “architecture” describes the art or practice of designing and building structures. With this definition, it’s easy to see that architecture has been the center of philosophical debates since Roman times. While the definition of Enterprise Architecture (EA) is generally accepted, it’s still easily confused, misunderstood, pondered and debated. Translating EA speak into your organization’s lingo can improve the credibility, practicality, and ultimately the success of your EA program.
Credibility, Practicality, Success
Describing and selling an EA program to any organization is a challenge. Translating EA speak into your organization’s jargon will add credibility to your program. First, your organization’s knowledge workers will understand the program’s impact and value to their jobs. If they just shake their heads, but don’t understand the message, your credibility as a Chief Architect can be lost immediately. This instantly labels the Chief Architect as the book smart academic that can’t apply EA into real world scenarios.
Next, communicating EA in your organization’s vernacular will improve the practicality of your program. For example, if you’re selling a new technical pattern or the concepts of technical patterns, use the analogy of a blueprint. Help your customers conceptualize the message you’re sending.
Finally, the success of your EA program will depend on your ability to communicate to your organization. You must be able to connect with your constituents on their level. You simply can't expect them to understand and learn EA immediately. While this would make your job easier, it's just not practical to expect your organization to change that quickly.
- Use analogies wherever possible.
- Use terminology your organization if familiar with. If your organization refers to standards as operation policies, call standards operation policies.
- Don’t assume a shaking head equals comprehension and understanding.