Thursday, May 23, 2013

SCRUM at the center of Enterprise Architecture

A couple of days ago a tweet from John Gøtze cought my attention

And my reaction to it was it should:

(c) Tom Graves
To explore this a bit further now finally this blog post. When I am tasked to implement Enterprise Architecture first time or to improve an existing capability then I put an agile approach in the core, preferable SCRUM. There is various reasons for this. To explain the concept I borrow the SCAN framework from Tom Graves, here in particular the post Sensemaking - modes and disciplines.

In my implementations of Enterprise Architecture activities I focus on the problem space Ambiguous and Not-Known. Ambiguous problems can be quite well solved with SCRUM, where "the whole is greater than the sum of it parts", Aristotle. Agile approaches which do not put the team into the centre of their methodology do not seem to work as well in this problemspace. The identification to which quadrant a problem and the corresponding solution belongs is in my mind always an ambiguous problem, due to the scope of Enterprise Architecture, trying to cover the whole [which is more than the sum of its parts].

Problems which belong to Simple or Complicated I usually hand over as fast as possible to better suited teams or individuals, while the ambiguous problems I keep inside of Enterprise Architecture. The Not-Known space is total different and typically I focus on finding the Innovation which emerges here instead of trying to force it. I believe that Innovation can be easier found peripheral and not really by looking for it centrally.

By implementing SCRUM in the center some key elements needs to be in place to succeed. One of the most crucial elements is the Chief Architect, be it the official announced Chief Architect, or a manager (e.g. CIO) who is filling that role. The Chief Architect is the one who gets the SCRUM role Product Owner assigned. And here typically some effort and attention is needed to secure that the Chief Architect is focussing on delivering into his role as Product Owner instead of doing the actual work. The work should be done by the SCRUM team (or Pigs).

The most important element here is to create an environment in which the team utilizes the strenghts of each other. And here also lies one of the biggest challenges, because most Enterprise Architects have been grown from technical roles and have been survived quite some selection criterias till they have become an Enterprise Architect. Statistically I observe a high amount of heroes or divas, who are quite biased that an Enterprise Architect and especially they themselves are the crown of the evolution. Concepts like the Peter Principle support that thinking even more. :)

The only role which is fairly easy to fill is the SCRUM Master. Just take any good SCRUM Master who is NOT knowing much about Enterprise Architecture (preferred) or willingly not going into the content (sometimes hard, if the SCRUM Master is self biased believing to know better about Enterprise Architecture). So literally someone who only focusses on securing that the process runs.

This is of course not always easy to implement, but it is my main target to achieve. And I continue developing a team towards that target, till it is achieved. And when achieved the speed can be even increased, because then the environmental problems are solved and the focus can be on the delivery of good Enterprise Architecture Services, which is a post I also plan.  SCRUM helps me to deliver to my main objective. Enterprise Architecture and especially my approach GLUE is about People first:

Comments as always more than welcome.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

What really matters

I planned for quite a while to write a post (or series of posts to be accurate) but there was always something distracting me. Well, that happens, so no worries. Yesterday and the day before I have been on the Gartner EA Summit which was truly great and enlightening in many different ways, despite my incapability to plan a bit ahead. When I left the hotel today 5:00 in the morning to catch the first flight home I truly planned to write about it, more than one post actually. But then something was brought to my intention, something what really matters. (I might though come back to the Gartner EA Summit and what I learned later).

The flight went fine and I got picked up as planned by the taxi. Perfect service by the way including Internet access and bottled water to drink. As always the travel went smooth and perfect, so I could work my way through a stockpile of email to put some things into context, sort one or the other topic. Basically normal travel type of work. But then, something was brought to my intention. Heavy impact actually.
  1. All of a sudden the driver had to go into the breaks, not really, but strong enough for me to recognize, so I looked up to see whats up and of course the classical motorway road works traffic jam.
  2. I heard some breaks, but nothing really worrying and then suddenly the driver was taking his hands away from the steering wheel and in that very same moment a large truck was blowing his horn and then the noise of metal, plastics and humans screaming.
  3. Something bumped also in the car I was sitting in (normally I was sitting always on the front seat, but this time I was sitting in the back to work) and a giant truck was sledging diagonal from the back into my sight field and into the farming field next to the roadway.
  4. [total silence]
  5. The driver of the truck left his truck within 10 seconds as far as I was able to recognize unharmed and the driver of the taxi I was sitting in just drove 20 meter forward to secure a way for potential emergency cars.
  6. Then we left the car, and it was a field of demolition. Apparently a second truck was standing on the emergency lane obviously heavily hit by something in the rear. A small bus for 8 persons was wrecked and standing on his wheels but into the wrong direction (later my driver told me that he has seen that bus doing a rollover), 2 cars have been hit heavily (airbags executed) and bumped into the cars in front of them, one of them obviously hitting us.
Our car and another car almost unharmed, just small scratches in the rear, but have a look at the red truck who litereally was flying in as my driver told me on the rest of the travel more than once.
  1. Almost at the very moment 4 people from Johanniter Unfallhilfe came running. I was truly impressed, but in reality it was just luck that they have been driving a couple of cars behind us. So the professionals could take over and did that really great. It was very fast clear that noone was harmed heavily. Everyone involved could walk, talk and was cleary able to response reasonable (despite some really shaking knees and white faces).
  2. Shortly afterwards police officers came to secure the area and a helicopter flew in. Impressive speed by the way, I haven't clocked it, but it for sure was well below 10 minutes till the helicopter with the doctor was there.
  3. The volunteer fireworkers from that area also arrived with quite some vessels and people.
  4. What was obvious in that realm of chaos was high professionalism, but also quite some communication and handovers. From Johanniter to police to doctors to fireworkers. The cars were triple checked (Johanniter, Policemen, Fireworkers) All of the involved professionals spoke to the people involved in the accident, quite some confusion about many things for example insurance (how irrelevant at THAT moment, yet important for some. As far as I recognized it, that insurance concept was at least one thing people understood in that moment).
  5. They collected all of us and explained the steps and there was a fairly good atmosphere, because everyone was well aware that things could have been way worse. Personal data was recorded by the police people, the doctors did a short examination and send those from the more heavily impacted cars into hospital, the fireworkers cleaned the street to allow the emergency cars to drive through, lots of pictures were made.
  6. Not that I want to make that experience again or wish that anyone, but it was brilliant to see them in action, coming from knowing nothing to full control of the situation in less then 15 minutes.
Given all what I learned at the Gartner EA Summit (and other events), why can that story not be told different?
  1. Preventive
    1. A Traffic Jam is signalled back to the following cars (and to traffic control) and warns the drivers (like red alarm in Star Trek if you want) or even better forces the car to slow down, no matter what the driver believes.
    2. A car in trouble signals to the other cars (and traffic control) that it is in trouble.
    3. Cars are forced to have a relevant safety distance.
    4. Cars are forced to not overspeed (yes, there will be people who believe this should not be done, but in that case it would have helped a lot and under worse circumstances it would have saved life).
  2. Impact
    1. On an impact the car or environment is signalling to other cars as well as to traffic control.
    2. Traffic control sends a drone to examine the area and create a 3D model.
    3. That 3D model gets send to all potentially involved parties which can use it to plan the operation while already driving to location.
    4. Each unit supported by augmented reality updates new information real time into that model, so that everyone involved has the full picture and can therefore act acordingly, e.g. more people, specialized vessels, specialized skills, but also retreat if the impact was less harmful than thought. There could be way more parties involved than in this particular case.
  3. Afterwards
    1. All the information can be directly fed into the system including the 3D model for reports, insurance, news, whatsoever.
So thank you consumer market for bringing us all these great new potential, but it is only interesting. Relevant is something else, nevertheless, please explore more, because it might be useful somewhere else. Truly relevant. Over to you.
P.S.: This was just a quick writing, the accident is less than 8 hours ago and I was doing quite some other things in between, but I believe there could be many stories created out of this and potentially there are already units in the world building this system so that it is usable, easy to use and as cheap as possible. I can only hope for that.