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The Role and Development of an Enterprise Architect: A Devil's Advocate’s Perspective (SATURN 2009)

May 2009 Presentation
Robert Ellinger

Presentation given at SATURN 2009, which took place in Pittsburgh, PA on May 4-7, 2009.


Software Engineering Institute



System engineering, system architecture, and enterprise architecture skills are necessary in one half of the processes of any successful development or implementation program. This half identifies the customer's requirements, creates the tests that verify the components and assemblies perform the functions they are supposed to perform, and validates that the system or product meets the customer's requirements. The problem is that the talents required for system engineering and system architecture are little understood.

This presentation will posit that systems engineers must serve apprenticeships in two or more IT skills (such as database design, network implementation, or software development) and serve as a requirements manager before he or she can become an independent systems engineer. The systems engineer must serve two or more years in that position before serving an apprenticeship as a system architect. Finally, for a systems architect to become an enterprise architect, he or she must be mentored by a successful enterprise architect.

The paper will identify the purpose and skills required by each position, the reasons for the described growth path, and the reasons why the coaching and mentoring is needed rather than simply training programs.