I used to think that ‘EA’ stood for Enterprise Architect. However, having been drowned in the torrent of hot air and hyperbole that flows from EA forums (or should that be fora?) on LinkedIn, I now suspect that ‘EA’ might stand for ‘Egomaniacs Anonymous’.
Engagement Is Good, Right?
Is it not good to see people getting engaged in a forum and enthusiastically putting forward lots of varied views and comments on a particular subject? Under ordinary circumstances I would totally agree that it is. Sadly, what happens in the EA forums is something quite different.
It all starts off quiet with a contributor making a post or asking a question. Then, some other contributor will leave a comment expressing a view that is relevant to the post or question. This process will continue for about another four or five comments.
Then, without warning, the EA insanity kicks in. Some member of Egomaniacs Anonymous, who was passing by or was stalking in the area, will now pitch in with a comment that has absolutely no relevance to the original post, but will be on some pet obsession, some inane analogy (a favourite of so many EAs) or even a personal attack on one of the previous contributors.
This post seems to send out some sort of weird digital chemical message that attracts all of the members of Egomaniacs Anonymous within a thousand mile radius, who will now come swarming, armed with sacks full of irrelevant comments, more inane analogies, or, in many cases just plain old vitriol.
In some cases this feeding frenzy can go on for days, even weeks. Recently one simple question resulted in a plague of over 2500 comments, about 5% of which were relevant to the original question.
My mailbox was spammed daily. I had originally clicked the box asking to be notified of any follow-up comment on the original post. Maddeningly, as the frenzy continued to build I could not, no matter how many times I tried, unclick this box.
I even made a post pleading with the contributors to please stop the insanity and stop spamming me. Needless to say, it never got published and the deluge continued for about another two weeks.
Montgolfier Inflation Index
Rumour has it that statisticians, social media commentators and physicists have developed, and are now busy calibrating, a new measurement scale called the Montgolfier Inflation Index. Using this they reckon they will soon be able to measure which takes more hot air to inflate, the Montgolfier Brothers hot air balloon or the ego of an EA.
Is this the reason why Enterprise Architects are viewed with such scepticism (if not contempt) in organisations around the world? Is it because they are so obsessed with their own views and opinions, so convinced that they totally understand everything about everything that they have no need to ask questions; indeed they already have all the answers to any question you could possibly think of asking.
This is such a pity, because good Enterprise Architects have so much to offer to an enterprise. Great Enterprise Architects ask lots of questions, design great architectures, hand them over to other people to build, implement and enjoy. Then, their job done, these architects move on to their next enterprise and next great challenge.
That is the true measure of great EAs, they continually make themselves redundant!!!