By Terry Blevins, Fellow of The Open Group
This last week we lost two great contributors in the Enterprise Architecture community. I am saddened more than anyone could imagine by the passing of John Spencer and Len Fehskens of The Open Group who were both friends and colleagues. We all are no doubt overwhelmed by their passing. Maybe it will help us all to take time to remember their contributions and memories. If inclined to do so, respond with your own.
For me, John’s inspiration was the reason I got involved in The Open Group starting back in 1996. He was also responsible for encouraging my continued relationship with The Open Group in many different capacities over these 21 years. Early on, John challenged me and others in the Architecture Forum with very practical questions – “what difference does it make, why would anyone care, how do you really do this” – were just a few of John’s questions whose answers were critical to improving the TOGAF® ADM over the years. His encouragement was always timely and helped move things forward when bogged down. After discussions with him, he would often say – “OK let’s just do it” and we did. One of John’s gentle pushes, and how questions, resulted in writing the Managers Guide to Business Scenarios and another was what we called the “webification” of TOGAF. Always pushing forward – John kept me doing things!
Len complemented this by keeping me, and others, thinking. He addressed things from a different perspective – his favorite questions were what does that actually mean and how is that different from that? Where John was extremely practical, Len was very cerebral. Len pushed for clarity and sought out the optimum. Len challenged everyone with his talks, making everyone think very hard about any fundamentals that could impact the discipline. John was about doing things right and Len about doing the right things! A dynamic duet that worked together, yet at a distance from each other.
I will miss my discussions with Len about architecture, shared love for cats, and his great pictures including one of his cats flying in midair! I will miss the debates with Len – no, we didn’t always have the same meaning of terms. I will miss the dinners with John, when we both got away from a conference and discussed our wives – Janie and Angela – life, philosophy, physics, travel, books – John read a lot more than I!
I am so grateful to have known these two gentlemen.
(For the announcement by The Open Group and the AEA, please visit here.)