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« Enterprise Architecture Reporting Lines | Main | Should IT include a business architecture function? »

Two Headed Beast

When you look at corporate management, the typical structure is to have a chairman who faces out from the organisation towards the investors and a CEO who faces inwards and manages the organisation. Within organisations, you sometimes get a similar structure at board level. A board director such as a finance director or sales director who has significant outward facing responsibilities will be shadowed by a non board director or general manager who runs the operations for their division.

Is a similar management model appropriate for EA?

I have run three EA departments for large companies. In each case, I have identified a “number 2” who has had helped me very closely in all aspects of managing the department. Architects are experts in the their fields, sometimes considered mavericks, sometimes don’t suffer fools gladly, often considered difficult to manage by other managers. The continuing political situations that EA finds itself both inside and outside the IT function can be complex and stressful particularly if there are major change programmes in progress. Sharing the management load has worked well for me. Other EA managers that I have known have adopted similar informal management approaches where a “number 2” has a special role in addition to being a member of the EA management team.

Is it time to formalise this approach? Is it time to recognise that EA management is a big job and that 2 heads are better than one? Should larger EA functions that are involved in large-scale change have a “two headed beast” leadership? The Head of EA would be the external leader managing the politics, driving stakeholder management, opening doors, top level supplier relations, and fighting the budgetary battles. Reporting into the Head of EA would be the Chief Architect who would run the architecture teams identifying architecture needs, developing policy and models, supporting projects, etc.

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