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EA Culture


The Enterprise Architecture development must be supported by the organization and culture. People are the company; they can make or break the EA. To succeed one has to adapt the organization and subtly sniff and influence the culture. SOA for instance requires a new distributed governance. People are accountable for the service they deliver, its roadmap, business, IT technology, usage, defects, service continuity and for acquiring internal or even external customers. Here are a few definitions for culture, from the web: 
- "The set of learned beliefs, attitudes, values and behavior that are characteristic of a particular social group or organization." 
- "A set of shared norms and values which establish a sense of identity for those who share them". 
- "A specific set of social, educational, religious and professional behaviors, practices and values that individuals learn and adhere to while participating in or out of groups they usually interact with." 
- "The sum total of the ways of life of a people; includes norms, learned behavior patterns, attitudes, and artifacts; also involves traditions, habits or customs; how people behave, feel and interact; the means by which they order and interpret the world; ways of perceiving, relating ... 
And my attempt at a definition: culture is an assemble of unwritten rules and values that drive the behavior of a group living or working together; culture ultimately shapes how people respond to events and the way things are done beyond established procedures. It consists of and is transmitted by rites (ceremonials), traditions (established ways of doing things), legends (people and deeds people treasure) and education (training). 
It is reflected in the way people solve issues, communicate, celebrate, approach management (direct phone call/email, kick the door open, or other protocols of engagement... ). 
Well known organization cultures: 
- "Meritocracy" is the culture of reward and recognition associated with rapid progress and pride in the organization 
- The "can do" as opposed to the "can talk" culture of people sitting in meetings or on the phone all day, with the obvious results 
- "Blame culture" where if anything goes wrong a scapegoat is found; the consequence is that people rarely assume accountability 
- "Innovative" culture where invention is rewarded and praised 
- "Agile" where formalism is replaced by people empowered to act 
- "silo " where the departments don't care about the greater, collective good. 
How can one change culture? That is, change it in a positive sense since it often done otherwise. The cultural change starts at the top. It requires honesty (as opposed to political spin), justification, communication, openness (information available to anyone concerned) that is, all in all, transparency (information available to anyone), enforced by a Freedom of Information like act. 
Accountability (be able to associate people performance to task accomplishment) and recognition of merit are essential to enforce a successful culture. 

The culture is the collective soul of the organization, of a group of people. It is influenced by type of governance, internal regulation, empowerment policies (liberty to act in some limits), recognition policies, height of the organization tree (bureaucracy), clarity of accountabilities and roles, freedom of communications, rights of opinion. Recognition makes employees happy which in turn make the company successful.


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