June 17, 2011

Just in Time Architecture

The IT department at Enterasys is going through a cloud transition evaluating our on-premise solutions and moving to cloud-based software and services. While we are not new to the cloud, having been a Salesforce.com customer since 2003, our speed of cloud implementation has significantly increased. This accelerated pace puts pressure on our IT staff to adapt to a constantly changing technology landscape. With so many pieces changing at the same time and with cloud vendors innovating at a rapid pace, strategic planning becomes difficult.
When things are moving so quickly, the natural tendency is to slow down, plan things out, to take a breath and to design enterprise architecture to support the change. However, enterprise architecture initiatives represents everything about traditional IT that we try very hard not to be. At Enterasys we are focused on adding value to the business in an iterative, agile, and fast manner. We do IT differently and our approach to our solutions reflects that.
We hire smart, talented people. These people are expected to be subject matter experts and at the same time they are empowered to expand their sphere of understanding and influence in IT and the business. At the same time, we are constantly trying to go faster, to innovate at an ever-increasing speed while delivering a high level of satisfaction. We don’t have time to spend sitting in meetings, white-boarding a desired future state and then boiling that down to a nifty 100+ page document which no one will read. Instead, we’ve taken a “Just in time” approach to architecture.
“Just in Time Architecture” is achieved by:
  • Understanding the major players, solutions and direction of a market
  • Keeping up with the newest technologies and trends
  • Fanatically searching for an easier way
  • Keeping the solution simple
  • Striking the balance between built-to-last and built-for-speed and need
  • Making the most informed decision possible just in time to meet the need of the business
  • Implementing and course correcting as needed
This approach is different from traditional methods and can be hard to adjust to, especially for those people more accustomed to a traditional approach to development architecture, those from large organizations or consultants working on enterprise solutions. However, we have found it to be very successful and that success has only emboldened us to move faster going forward.
How about you? How have you been able to adopt a “Just in Time” approach to architecture?
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