Here are some samples of seminal works that constitute the origins of Enterprise Architecture:
Frederick Taylor wrote the “Principles of Scientific Management” in 1911. These were the work flow studies that addressed the allocation of responsibility for efficient production of the product or service.
Walter Shewhart wrote “The Economic Control of Quality of Manufactured Product” in 1931. Shewhart came up with “Plan, Do, Check and Act” ... Demming made it famous but it was Shewhart’s cycle. Demming worked for Shewhart at AT&T.
Peter Drucker wrote “The practice of Management” in 1954. This was the first time Management was separated from the concept of Economics. There was no legitimacy to the topic of “management” until very recently. In fact, when I went to the University, there were no business schools. Business schools are a very recent phenomenon.
Jay Forrester wrote “Industrial Dynamics” in 1961. This was the result of a research project at M.I.T. where they were employing classic process control concepts (cybernetics - feedback loops and servo mechanisms) in human systems, tracing resource flows.
Peter Senge manages the same research project that Jay Forrester began in the ‘50’s and wrote “The Fifth Discipline: The Learning Enterprise” in 1990. In the Information Age, not only do people have to learn, the Enterprise has to learn. How does an Enterprise learn? There are 5 learning disciplines and the fifth discipline is “Systems Thinking” which is a derivative of Industrial Dynamics. There are many cyclical things going on in an Enterprise and some of the cycles reinforce each other and some inhibit each other. You have to understand all of the cycles and their interactions because until you do, your natural reaction to external stimuli is exactly WRONG. You will do more damage to the Enterprise than you will help.
I am not going to elaborate any more... I am sure you get the idea. If you really want to engineer an Enterprise, a lot of good work has already been done. You don’t have to know everything... you just have to do some research.
Who do you think will do the research to learn how to engineer the Enterprise?... the CEO? General Management? Probably not. Probably the person who is doing the engineering will do the research if any research is to be done.
I recently saw my friend Adriaan Vorster in Johannesburg. He was the CIO in one of the big mining companies and in retirement taught at Pretoria University. He was observing that most of the problems we have today have already been solved and extensively documented but nobody is taking the time to read what has been written.
My sixth grade history teacher, Miss Collins, had a banner posted around the crown molding of the classroom that read: “HISTORY IS A STUDY OF THE PAST TO HELP US UNDERSTAND THE PRESENT TIME”. (What ever happened to that idea?!!)