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Is an Enterprise Architect the Medieval Barber?

by Mike Rollings  |  September 15, 2010  |  2 Comments

My father was a barber but he was a specialist focused on grooming.  Back in medieval days you could go to a barber for just about anything.  You could receive a haircut, a shave, a blood letting, a tooth extraction, surgery… the barber could do it all.

I’m sure there was confusion about the various types of barbering one could receive. I can hear the comments medieval people made as they discussed the various types of barbers:

  • “Don’t go to Vlad he only does blood letting”
  • “Our barber does haircuts, shaves and tooth extraction – how about yours?”
  • “We don’t call our guy that operates on wounds a barber, we call ours a surgeon”
  • We had a bad experience with our barber so we put him on the rack. We don’t do barbering anymore.”, “But how do you remove teeth?”, “We do dentistry.”

I’m sure barbers fought for a long time to keep surgery, and tooth extraction as part of the trade.  Factions must have formed around surgery and barbering. Barbering methodologies each proclaiming they were the true practice.  It is similar to conversations about enterprise architecture and how the IT industry discusses the role of an enterprise architect.

We now have many different types of hairstylists, surgeons, and dentists… I wonder how many others think history will repeat itself and distribute various aspects of the EA discipline across many business roles and professions?

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Category: management  strategic-planning  

Tags: it-delivery  transformation  

Mike Rollings
Research VP
5 years at Gartner
28 years IT industry

Mike Rollings is VP of Gartner Research within the Professional Effectiveness team. His research discusses what IT professionals need to know about transformation, innovation, human behavior, contextual strategy, collaborative organizational change, communication and influence, and cross-discipline effectiveness . His research can be read by IT professionals with access to Gartner for Technical Professionals (GTP) research. Read Full Bio

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