By Garry Doherty, The Open Group
The great English writer GK Chesterton once mused that if a man were to shoot his grandmother at a range of five hundred yards, he would be a good shot, but not necessarily a good man.
That, of course, lies at heart of the difficulty with language. Words, simply put, are words; they carry no further attributes unless linked in some way with other language elements. Additionally, words, in isolation, do not usually convey contextual information, and without the appropriate context, misunderstanding is inevitable.
Nang is where it’s at!
Much to the consternation of many of English speakers, our language changes to meet the needs of its users; so, as a middle-aged man, I don’t really need to know what words like hamstered, bokoo or nang* mean (even though I might like to). So, Enterprise Architects too, will evolve their own languages to meet their own, very specific needs.
ArchiMate® is an early attempt to populate the void, the result of a multi-party €4M research and validation project involving the Dutch government, academia and industry. EA is still a fledgling profession and the adoption of languages is not an overnight activity, but interest in ArchiMate is growing and there is a real momentum building.
We all know the importance and nature of stakeholders… they are not usually evil, but we do need to keep them happy, informed and we need their feedback… and at times that can be a real challenge. So what’s that got to do with ArchiMate?
Well, yes, ArchiMate is an open and independent graphical modeling language for enterprise architecture, but that’s only the start of the matter. It’s much more appropriate to see it as a stakeholder management tool. When used in conjunction with an EA framework like TOGAF™, ArchiMate takes on a new dimension and delivers an ability to communicate and collaborate with stakeholders through the creation of clear models, based on viewpoints that have a common foundation in both TOGAF and ArchiMate.
It may be a match made in heaven, but only time will tell!
*Go on, Google it. You know you want to.
Garry Doherty is an experienced product marketer and product manager with a background in the IT and telecommunications industries. Garry is the TOGAF™ Product Manager and the ArchiMate® Forum Director at The Open Group. Garry is based in the U.K.
I didn’t know any of the words “hamstered, bokoo or nang” you’ve used in your blogpost but then again they are very Londonesque British English.
Maybe we need a modelling language where we can include our very own slang?
“but we do need to keep them happy, informed and we need their feedback… ”
If you want valuable feedback from stakeholders or keep them happy and informed then sketching and storytelling are the tools to use. Models and modelling languages are tools for communication between specialists (in case of ArchiMate for communication between architects)
Isn’t that part of the problem and a challenge for Tool vendors?
By communicating in their own language are Architects in danger of becoming isolated in the business; perhaps Tool vendors can do something to help?
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