Are we the reason it is so hard to express EA’s value?

I was on a biweekly EA2010 conference call today and got pretty frustrated with the discussion.  There are some really amazing people like Brenda Michelson and Aleks Buterman on the call that get it and recognize that the value of Enterprise Architecture is what you make it in each organization.

Then there are others who want to walk into the bottomless pit of defining EA, measuring ROI on EA and talking about white papers that have been published.   If all of those papers really made a difference, we would not be having these conference calls about the challenge of getting EA recognized as a practice in our organizations.

Brenda and I had a sidebar on Twitter about this.  Here is the exchange we had:

leodesousa RT @bmichelson: …”there’s a paper on that” / ugh! show me the execution – http://bit.ly/bDQntf #entarch – I hear you! show value!

bmichelson @leodesousa maybe what we are talking about is “street smart” #entarch

leodesousa @bmichelson “street smart” fits very well with “activist”!! I surely don’t want to get caught up in “what is EA?” #entarch

bmichelson @leodesousa ugh, no. me either. “street smart” is what we need

bmichelson @leodesousa but, in too many cases, book smart (whitepaper smart) is what we have #entarch

Why can’t we stop trying to find the “one right” definition or think that there is one generic ROI model for measuring the value of enterprise architecture??

We are not only missing the point but we will never garner the support of our senior leaders or be able to demonstrate the value EA can bring.

For years, I and others have advocated a practical approach by a clear demonstration of value within our organizations.  Can we create a simple set of proven practices to get there?  “Street Smart” practices. Can we put these in a document to help other Enterprise Architects to be successful in demonstrating value?  I think we can but based on today’s call,  we have to stop with the rhetoric.

As Brenda so rightly says “too many cases, book smart (whitepaper smart) is what we have”

Thanks for indulging my rant.