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Living in a Mirage

For many people in an organization are enterprise architects those folks with PowerPoint, drawing boxes, but not having a clue about the “real world” downstairs.

I must admit – they can be often right. We, however, do try to understand the “real world”, which tends to be quite complex. We try to put different views together and communicate a message about that world in a way so that most people can understand it. Well, to put it bluntly – so that managers can understand it.That’s at least the intention. More we spread the word, more acceptance we get, more successful we feel.

Nevertheless, in my experience we very rarely check how the message was received. How people understood the message. Simply, was the message clear? If we don’t do that – and we very, very, very rarely do – we open the doors for any interpretation. Strangely, the wider the possible interpretation, the more acceptance we get (because people can fit in with their mindset without changing it) and more succesful we feel.

What’s perhaps even worse that we can create false perception of the reality. How we do that? Well, already by just drawing complex reality on a “paper”. By our decision what to include and what not, by selecting colors, sizes of objects, all those visual attributes influence the perception of a picture. Drawing of two boxes of the same size next to each other creates an impression of similarity of size (at least our subconsciousness would to that), when it perhaps should not. The thing is that we are only rarely explicit about what all those visual attributes mean. For example, if size should not be taken into account at all, or if it roughly shows size of a department, system, revenue…

And the worst case is when we actually end up comfortably living in this false perception. We end up living in a mirage.

Lesson learned: check if the message was received as intended. It’s not fault of the audience if it wasn’t.

Categories: EA
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