REVIEW - A Practical Guide to Enterprise Architecture


A Practical Guide to Enterprise Architecture


James McGovern, Scott W. Ambler, Michael E. Stevens



Prentice Hall Professional (2004)




Rick Stones


August 2004



This book sets out to be about enterprise architecture and has been written by six authors, some of whom are well known in the architecture field. Unfortunately, it lacks the necessary organisation and structure to tie their contributions together in a way that gives the reader any real insight into the practice of enterprise architecture.

I expected the book to adopt some overarching approach to enterprise architecture, to start with an explanation of this approach and then to set each of the topics in that context. However, after a brief exposition of a framework in the preface, it dives straight into Chapter 1 on systems architecture, which jumps between levels, having sections on detailed technical subjects such as TCP/IP and higher-level themes such architectural types. This is characteristic of the whole book - some chapters are truly about architecture, while others are much more about detailed application development. Most chapters are about some aspect of architecture: software architecture, service-oriented architecture, data architecture, and so on, but nowhere is the idea of enterprise architecture developed. There is a brief section on the Zachman Framework in the chapter on methodologies, but it is discussed in the context of Extreme Programming, the Capability Maturity Model, Model-Driven Architecture and the Rational Unified Process, not with other candidate enterprise architecture frameworks.

To me, this is a book that has been written by six different people from different perspectives with little attempt to provide any real framework. In the conclusion of the chapter on software architecture the author of that chapter states "Enterprise architecture is in many ways a product of thecombined software architectures of the systems in the organization." If that is the case, you have to ask what the need is for the other eleven chapters in the book. Perhaps his co-authors did not tell him.

The book also lacks consistent copy-editing, with stupid errors, like "parishioners" for "practitioners" and the plural of "criterion" spelled "criterions" and "criteria" in the same paragraph.

If there is a theme in the book, it is the idea of Agility and Agile Architecture, referred to in the preface and in some chapters but not others. This subject has potential for an interesting book but, unfortunately, this book is not it.

Book cover image courtesy of Open Library.

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