Enterprise Architecture for 8th Graders

Enterprise Architecture for 8th Graders
Enterprise Architecture for 8th Graders
Communicating a complex topic like Enterprise Architecture in a simple way that avoids technical terms and buzzwords is not easy. This blog builds on earlier articles by Rob Karel than explains Big Data and Metadata to Mom and by John Schmidt that explains Integration to kids by focusing on Enterprise Architecture for an audience of 8th graders. The first thing I had to do was learn about the vocabulary and communication style of teenagers, so this internet article on “How 14 year old teenagers communicate” was helpful.  My findings, although not related to the topic of Enterprise Architecture, were revealing.

The article provided the following recommendations when talking to teenagers:

1. Talk with them and not at them.
2. Ask questions that go beyond “yes” or “no” answers to prompt more developed conversation.
3. Take advantage of time during car trips to talk with your teen.
4. Make time for sporting and school events, playing games, and talking about current events.

Let’s see how these recommendations could be applied:

1. Talk to them and not at them

Ask your teenager the following question – Have you ever heard about Enterprise Architecture?

“It is a way to help a company understand its customers and how its products are made and sold.  It helps managers improve the way the company works and how technology is used to help people do a better job”.

2. Ask questions that go beyond “yes” or “no” answers to prompt more developed conversation.

Ask your teenager the following question:  What do you want to do when you grow up? – Depending on the answer you may need to customize the text below.

“Enterprise Architecture helps you understand the needs of (the industry selected by your teenager).  It will then tell you the typical activities that employees do and the systems and technologies that are used to simplify those activities”.

3. Take advantage of time during car trips to talk with your teen.

Imagine the following scenario with your teenager – we can do the following exercise. Let’s assume your teenager wants be part of an advertising agency for the entertainment industry.

“We should count the number of billboards on the side of the road and note how many are movie advertisements. I am interested in your opinion of which advertising style sparks your interest in a specific movie”.

“If we do that we can then discuss the different activities that are required in making that advertising material and how to make the images speak to you. Enterprise Architecture also does that. It helps you understand the activities required in any business, step by step, allowing you to create templates or graphics that represent any industry”.

4. Make time for sports and school events, play games, and talk about current events.

Another sample conversation to support this recommendation could be:

“Let’s go to the movies this week. Once you select one you would like to see, see if you can identify why you choose this particular movie over the other ones. If you think of the billboards that we saw, can you remember what motivated or influenced you?.  We can understand together what the designers of those images were creating in the visual experience. Perhaps you have new ideas or suggestions on how they could have done it better? With the help of Enterprise Architecture companies identify more efficient activities to generate more business”.

After researching the topic I realized that we could apply these recommendations to share Enterprise Architecture with our business partners. Perhaps the readers of this blog can help by using these recommendations with their teenagers at home to explain the basic concepts of Enterprise Architecture and collectively create a simpler way to talk about Enterprise Architecture.

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