Thursday, November 15, 2007

People or process?

This is an interesting debate going on, that of people versus process in enterprise architecture function. Now that we are on subject let me bring in my perspective.

Legend has it that there were weavers in Dhaka region of Bangladesh, who could weave cotton cloth so fine that a nine yard piece would weigh less than 50 grams. Well that art is lost, because those weavers would never codify that process of weaving. So that knowledge passed only between generations thru word of mouth. When pitted against cheap cloth from Manchester, their better quality cloth lost market share to cheaper but not so great cloth. Eventually the whole craft died. It need not have been so, have they codified the process. At least craft would have survived and could have been revived in these days of green trade/fair trade.

Moral of the story,
1. Not codifying process is no guarantee against obsolescence.
2. Someone who can employ a repeatable process wins in a mass market over someone without process. (And enterprise IT is by no means a niche market).

Having said that I do believe there are job functions which cannot be fully codified by processes. I believe enterprise architect’s is one such job function. But this job can still be divided into pieces that are more defined and pieces which need bit of experience and expertise. The defined parts can then be codified and handled with slightly lesser skill levels. With this approach a full fledged enterprise architect, with some help can do job of many enterprise architects.

Nobody would have been interested in this model, if there was supply of good enterprise architects. Problem is there are not enough good people going around. This is a way to make do with what you have got. And yes it does work in enterprise architecture function too.

1 comment:

Bhuvan said...

Hi Vilas
A few observations on this post. Hope you don't mind. Processes should not be coded. From a Business perspective, they should be modeled and enriched with Enterprise Architecture dimensions. And from a technology perspective, Processes should be implemented using suites available today that generate the code on which the developers build upon.

Regards, Bhuvan

Thursday, November 15, 2007

People or process?

This is an interesting debate going on, that of people versus process in enterprise architecture function. Now that we are on subject let me bring in my perspective.

Legend has it that there were weavers in Dhaka region of Bangladesh, who could weave cotton cloth so fine that a nine yard piece would weigh less than 50 grams. Well that art is lost, because those weavers would never codify that process of weaving. So that knowledge passed only between generations thru word of mouth. When pitted against cheap cloth from Manchester, their better quality cloth lost market share to cheaper but not so great cloth. Eventually the whole craft died. It need not have been so, have they codified the process. At least craft would have survived and could have been revived in these days of green trade/fair trade.

Moral of the story,
1. Not codifying process is no guarantee against obsolescence.
2. Someone who can employ a repeatable process wins in a mass market over someone without process. (And enterprise IT is by no means a niche market).

Having said that I do believe there are job functions which cannot be fully codified by processes. I believe enterprise architect’s is one such job function. But this job can still be divided into pieces that are more defined and pieces which need bit of experience and expertise. The defined parts can then be codified and handled with slightly lesser skill levels. With this approach a full fledged enterprise architect, with some help can do job of many enterprise architects.

Nobody would have been interested in this model, if there was supply of good enterprise architects. Problem is there are not enough good people going around. This is a way to make do with what you have got. And yes it does work in enterprise architecture function too.

1 comment:

Bhuvan said...

Hi Vilas
A few observations on this post. Hope you don't mind. Processes should not be coded. From a Business perspective, they should be modeled and enriched with Enterprise Architecture dimensions. And from a technology perspective, Processes should be implemented using suites available today that generate the code on which the developers build upon.

Regards, Bhuvan