Category Archives: Enterprise Architecture

Enterprise Architecture

GTD helping to handle EA complexity (Enterprise Architecture)

As you already might know, I use to call myself a “GTD addict”.

The basic idea with GTD is that any time a new task shows up on your plate, be it from an email, something that popped into your mind, or a phone call – you write it down. I already described how I manage my to-do lists and how I review them (see articles: GTD & mind mapping – Part I & II ), but now let me tell you about how to apply GTD to EA (Enterprise Architecture) activities.

Basic idea:

When you have a few minutes to think, you sit down at your desk and work on your inbox. You’re going to priorize and sort your todos so that they are actionable. At this point, GTD’s concept of “43 folders” comes into play. At your desk, you’ll have a set of 43 paper folders – 12 for the months of the year, and 31 for the days of the month. As you go through the todos in your inbox, you simply choose one of those 43 folders to drop the item into. If you can get to your “Schedule Business Architecture meeting” task on the 15th of this month, you drop it into the “15″ folder. If you need to “Upgrade the SOA Repository Server” in January when a new patch is release, you drop that note into the “January” folder. What you’re doing is creating reminders to your future self.

You see how the whole system revolves around moving “todos” out of unreliable storage (your memory) into reliable storage (your inbox), and finally into organized storage (your 43 folders). The idea is that your mind’s full mental capacity is freed up to execute tasks because this simple system is managing the timing and organization of those tasks.

There are more subtleties to the system, such as managing tasks around projects and delegating to others, but this essentially describes how GTD works.

Why Does This Matter to me as an Enterprise Architect?

Because of the broad scope of EA’s responsibility, I’m sure you’re familiar with the constant barrage of requests for your time. You need a good system to manage all of these requests to ensure that you’re delivering value to your stakeholders. In my experience, GTD is an extremely effective tool for this purpose.

In addition to GTD methodology, I use mind mapping. Mind mapping can also help you to handle complexity. If you use it in a way to connect information in an organized way, then you reach the quintessential of mind mapping. Then, mix it with GTD methodology and tools like Result Manager and almost nothing becomes impossible to you when it comes to manage complex relationships between different entities. For more info, read this post.

Where Do I Get More Information?

Read David Allen’s books and through this blog…