QCon San Francisco 2008 – Martin Fowler and Rebecca Parsons – Opening Keynote

This talk was primarily about how and why application teams (and their architects) have a hard time engaging enterprise architecture.

I will retain the single strongest thought of the talk: enterprise architecture is a stake holder of an application among a lot other stake holders. And the second strongest thought: enterprise architects are useful to bring a transversal view of a company’s technological portfolio.

The speakers went to great length to not antagonise enterprise architects and sounded at times as if it was a PR exercise (or maybe a rehearsal for a different public ?) to convince architects that agile teams are in a better position to support their goals than other structures (by giving them more visibility into the projects and giving them a say in what gets done).

I believe that half the talk was missing though: agile projects are stake holders in the enterprise architecture. In other words it is a two way road because the enterprise architects are technological enablers and therefore dynamic teams have an interest in influencing the architectural choices and the tools used to implement them.

All too often (I have three examples in the past couple of years), enterprise architecture’s choices have been embodied by inadequate product. The architectural choices were not contested (they were actually adopted or considered as a valid constraint). The solution was left to gather dust.

So enterprise architects, let the application teams help you help them.

And I have to admit I really like Martin Fowler as a speaker.

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