>Murphy’s Law and Enterprise Architecture

>Murphy’s law is an adage in Western culture that broadly states that things will go wrong in any given situation, if you give them a chance…It is most often cited as “Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong” (or, alternately, “Whatever can go wrong will go wrong, and at the worst possible time, in the worst possible way”)…The saying is sometimes referred to as Sod’s law or Finagle’s law which can also be rendered as “Anything that can go wrong, will—at the worst possible moment”. (adapted from Wikipedia)

Well Murphy’s Law is pretty pessimistic and ominous, but I guess for those of us who are old enough to have lived through some of life’s up’s and down’s (and Murphy’s Law would probably say they’re mostly downs), then the adage is not only meaningful, but also a cautionary tale for how we conduct ourselves.

No, It’s not about being paranoid or schizoid or any of those things.

But probably more a big “WATCH OUT!” or “KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN!” sign plastered along the bumpy, curvy road of life.

One of my old pals has a spin of Murphy’s Law (although I don’t think he see it quite that way) that goes like this: “Man plans and G-d laughs.”

As a manager, I see Murphy’s Law as part of good program and project management. It’s about planning, planning, and more planning (sustained and determined), with plenty of risk management built in as you execute and deliver to the customer on behalf of the enterprise.

But even with planning and risk management, you can never cover every eventuality. What you can do is try to prevent or avoid certain risks, mitigate others, and accept the ones you can’t avoid or mitigate. Pretty much, simple as that.

User-centric EA is a process for the enterprise to plan and manage risk—all those inherent in Murphy’s Law. EA does this by formulating, documenting and communicating where the organization is at, where it is headed, and how it is going to try and get there. Furher, it vets these plans with leaderhip and subject matter experts, builds consensus, and drives positive, incremental change. EA helps the organization adapt to changes internally and externally. EA is a bulwark against the law of “anything that can go wrong, will.”

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