The Practical Guide to Enterprise Architecture
James McGovern, Scott W. Ambler, Mike Stevens, James Linn, Vikas Sharan, and Elias Jo
Prentice Hall, 2003   ISBN:

Scott W. Ambler + Associates
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Practical Guide to Enterprise Architecture  



This book demystifies enterprise architecture and helps organizations recognize real business value through effective implementation.
The role of the enterprise architecture professional is one of the most challenging roles in information technology today. Many aspects of the role are technical, while much more of the job is becoming political. To say the least, it is a challenging position. Many enterprise architects have significant responsibility, but do not have the necessary authority to bring about success. The primary focus of this book is to be a guide and trusted advisor to those who want to be successful in this pursuit. Through real-world examples from experts who have filled the role of enterprise architect, the reader will learn how to solve complex problems, maintain technical competencies, and make a positive impact on the overall business. The most successful architecture will have an architect that can describe the motivation behind the technical choices; this book provides the background the practitioners will need to become the enterprise evangelist.


Content of the Book

The goal of this book is to share insight gathered by industry thought leaders in an easy to read practical manner. This book contains many leading edge examples that illustrate how enterprise architecture can be applied to existing business and technology issues. It will help one focus on how to think concretely about enterprise architecture while providing solutions to today’s problems. This book is organized into the following chapters:



This book is suitable for all information technology people who have the passion and discipline to study technology to the level required for successful implementation. Ideally, the reader of this book should be a project manager, senior developer, software architect or enterprise architect of Fortune 1000 organization or employed by a consulting firm that serves these enterprises. This book is also suitable for information technology executives such as Chief Information Officers (CIO), Chief Technology Officers (CTO) and others within the IT technology management chain.

The author team intentionally avoided putting any references to years of experience in the profession as a prerequisite as architect is not a title one is entitled to simply through years on the job. We assume that the reader has basic familiarity with emerging technologies and their attempt to solve existing problems. We have provided references at the end of each chapter that the reader could refer to if they are interested in drilling deeper into any particular topic.


About the Book

The idea about this book came about during a lunchtime conversation amongst two of the authors who were complaining about why the computer field was the only field in which you could become a manager, director, or even vice president without any computing experience. During this lunchtime conversation, we compared the computer field to other professional fields such as accounting, law enforcement and even the dreaded legal field.

Imagine if the town you lived in were looking to hire a new police chief. Could you have confidence in the chief if he were not a police officer at any time in his life? Furthermore, what if the chief did not know how to use a gun nor had no idea about proper investigation procedures? Let’s extend this thought to accountants and lawyers by further extending our vision of a former McDonald’s manager applying to be a partner at one of the firms simply because he was a leader? Maybe this is the reason why we have so many accounting scandals these days.

The partners in the legal and accounting fields are leaders but they also retain current knowledge of their practice and could argue a case or balance your books. The same police chief is a leader but most likely still remembers how to write a parking ticket.

Getting to the root cause of this problem is one that cannot be solved quickly. Unlike other fields, the computer field is one of the fields where you can have the title of architect but not necessarily know your job. The information technology field is constantly evolving and ever changing. For the motivated, it requires long hours reading multiple books by the thought leaders of our industry to figure out the next minute. Even for the most diligent of us, the goal of achieving knowledge and enlightenment may never come.

Many businesses are faced with challenging problems such as technology changing rapidly, employees with limited skill sets, smaller budgets and less tolerance for failure. The only way one can be successful in new order is to learn a new strategy. Today’s business no longer has the opportunity to learn from their failures.

This book presents several provocative alternatives and serves as a leader, teacher and guide to help you manage the chaos. It will challenge both conventional and contrarian’s wisdom. This book is written by some of the brightest information technology thought leaders and can help you not only learn from a single source but create an agile enterprise using techniques learned on the battlefield of life.


Ordering the Book

Amazon U.S.

Practical Guide to Enterprise Architecture

Amazon U.K.

Practical Guide to Enterprise Architecture

Amazon Canada

Practical Guide to Enterprise Architecture




Companion Website

Be sure to visit the companion Web Site for this book at  Here you will be able to download supplemental information related to Enterprise Architecture.



Meeting the Need for Enterprise-Level Thinking by Dan Romanchik in Application Development Trends, May 2004


Related Resources

Enterprise Unified Process (EUP)

Let Us Help

We actively work with clients around the world to improve their information technology (IT) practices, typically in the role of mentor/coach, team lead, or trainer.  A full description of what we do, and how to contact us, can be found at Scott W. Ambler + Associates