Top ten enterprise architecture pitfalls exposed

2 mins read

Selecting the wrong person as lead enterprise architect, and not engaging business people are two of the biggest pitfalls that large manufacturers face when developing an EA programme, according to Gartner.

Following considerable research, the analyst has identified what it sees as the 10 biggest enterprise architecture pitfalls, as well as practical advice on how organisations can avoid them. "Avoiding the pitfalls in the first place is much easier than climbing out of a hole you've inadvertently tumbled into," insists Scott Bittler, research vice president at Gartner. "Applying the ways to avoid these pitfalls results in achieving EA benefits faster and reduced risk of programme failure. It will also improve the credibility of IT among business leaders," he adds. So what are Gartner's 10 top tips? 1. Don't engage the wrong lead architect. That's the single biggest EA mistake, says Gartner. If a chief architect is an ineffective leader, then even a good organisational structure and staffing levels cannot overcome the limitation. Bittler recommends strong 'soft' skills. 2. Watch out for poor stakeholder understanding and support. This happens when employees outside the EA team don't participate in the programme, says Bittler. Then EA content is not used in projects and management questions its value. Gartner's solution is to make EA education and communication a top priority. 3. Not engaging the business people results in problems including non-technical people trying to make technical decisions while enterprise architects become too reactionary and tactical in response to projects. Gartner recommends that enterprise architects get involved in the development of the business context. 4. Doing only the technical stuff is a very dated approach to anything, but still alive and well in some organisations – and it leads to narrow scope. 5. Doing current-state ea first: successful EA provides prescriptive guidance but current-state EA does not, warns Bittler. So it delays delivery of EA value. 6. The EA group does most of the architecting – resulting in EA content off the mark as it's not informed by the business side. 7. Not measuring and not communicating the impact. The value of EA is often indirect, so it may not be obvious to everyone in the organisation. Without measurables, you expose the EA programme to risk of failure. Gartner recommends that enterprise architects create a slide to demonstrate each success story. 8. Architecting the 'boxes' (business units) only in process, information, technical and solutions models doesn't address business agility and integration. 9. Not establishing effective EA governance early – big mistake. 10. Not spending enough time on communications. "The key for enterprise architects is to create not the perfect or most elegant architecture for the moment, but the most adaptable architecture for the future," concludes Bittler.