For several years now, I have been teaching a course named getting started with enterprise architecture. It is a three-day course meant to assist practitioners in making a start with implementing an architectural practice within their organization. It is great fun to give this course and evaluations indicate that the participants also benefit from it. Which is very fortunate, of course.
One of the lessons I try to teach in my classes is that architecture cannot be the sole responsibility of the architects. Architecture relates to decision making throughout the organization. Of course being an architect entails having particular skills and knowledge. But that does not mean the rest of the organization does not play a role in making architecture effective. The navigation system in your car does not relieve you from the task of steering the car in the right direction.
Until recently my classes consisted of architects that have a little knowledge of and experience in architecture, and are searching for ways to further implement architectural thinking and acting. Lately, however, I noticed a change in participants. My classes do no longer consist of architects, but increasingly of practitioners holding functions such as information analyst, developer, test manager, project manager or team manager. This change happened gradually. Asked why they attend a course on enterprise architecture, they give two kinds of answers. Either they increasingly encounter architectural prescriptions in their daily work or they are expected to play their part in architecture development.
It stems me hopeful. Is it a sign that maybe we are finally making the shift from enterprise architecture being a function within an organization to enterprise architecture being a competency of the organization? With architects who possess the knowhow to translate strategy to structure and an organization that translates and applies this knowhow to its daily routine because it helps in making better decisions?