A couple of weeks ago, during my performance interview, I got asked if I had done any studies or got some new certifications or diploma’s. Education and studying is a big part of Dephion and I really like that. I told the person that was interviewing me that I had done a number of Udemy courses over the past 8 months. Some of which rewarded me with a certificate, others didn’t. He then insisted I should look a more “long term” or “serious” study, by which he meant, an education offered from an official / recognized institution.

Not that there is anything wrong with Udemy for upping your skills, but let’s be real. Sadly enough, I don’t think, that certificates from Udemy hold up as token of your skill or knowledge in the current industry. Some people think this goes the same for a CS degree. I agree that skills and knowledge are something you grow by practicing over time. A degree will certainly help getting all the base principles in, and personally, I have gained much in-depth knowledge about software engineering by going though the process of getting a master’s as well. But I think, self thought programmers / engineers can be really, really good because they are intrinsically motivated to learn and progress themselves. But enough about this.

After some thinking I chose to continue my studies by doing some more courses at the same university I did my master’s. Since I did the Software Engineering (SE) master there are still courses left to do for getting the Computer Science (CS) master’s. The CS master encompasses the courses of the SE degree, so by doing the CS master’s you have also done all courses required to get the SE master’s. I choose to do the SE master since it’s more focused on the technical aspects of CS, whereas, the CS master also includes things like business processes, intelligence and other more managerial aspects of software engineering. So since I’m a real techie I naturally gravitated towards the SE degree instead of the CS degree. However, now the opportunity presents itself to continue on the other courses as well so I gladly take it.

Let’s talk a bit about the course I’m doing next.


Enterprise Architecture – IM0003

So the 2nd of September 2021 I’m continuing my adventure in academics with a course on Enterprise Architecture (EA). I chose this course since it was the next logical one to do and it sounds interesting to me. Enterprise Architecture is all about how to properly design a software architecture that fits the organization’s needs. A definition for EA might sound something like this:

‘EAM is a management practice that 1) establishes, maintains and uses a coherent set of guidelines, architecture principles and governance regimes that 2) provide direction for and practical help with the design and the development of an enterprise’s architecture in order to 3) achieve its vision and strategy.’

This description is taken from the introduction .pdf which you can find here. This is great by the way, that the university decided to provide some freely accessible ‘demo’ content of the course.

I’ve read through the snapshot’ content a couple of days ago since I don’t have the books / study material yet. So let’s discuss what else is in the introduction chapter of the course.


Some Background

Of course we start with some background of what EA actually is. They describe an organization i.e. an enterprise, no not the spaceship, as complex, adaptive socio-technical systems.

What does this mean!?

Well, it means that an enterprise is interrelated entities of people, processes, information and systems which gain competitive advantage by integrated, consistent and coherent business, organizational, informational and technological design. Huhh!?

Yeah, exactly. What it boils down to is the following; EA is a discipline that defines and documents the entire architecture and all important elements of an organization. It covers all relevant domains like the business, digital or physical domains and it relates all interactions between elements that belong to these domains. These elements can be processes, applications, data and other technologies.

So by doing proper EA an enterprise can really optimize it’s competitive advantage.

Next they dive a little deeper into the origins of EA all the way back to the late 1980’s when it was defined by John Zachman. I encourage you to read this yourself since it is documented really nicely and I will probably do a worse job describing it. 😀

Long story short; over the past couple of decades EA has sprouted and grown many practices and frameworks. It is widely used by theorists, government EA initiatives, consultants and IT practitioners.


Enterprise Architecture Management

Management of EA practices is a very important aspect, and it needs to be a top priority and management topic. Therefore it is essential to include entrepreneurs’ and executives’ questions and concerns in this process.

This is exactly what this course addresses, so lucky us (the students).

Back when EA started it primarily focused on modeling of architectures which is referred to as phase 1. In phase 2 EA management professionals realized that focusing solely on the modeling of architecture was not enough to contribute to competitive advantage. Consequently, some frameworks arose that not only focused on architecture modeling but also planning, implementation and controlling EA. Nowadays, we are in what is called phase 3. EA management is now a mature field and discipline that provides enterprises with philosophy, methodologies and tools to develop and realize flexible architecture. It’s all about a way of thinking about an organization’s architecture and how to understand, plan and control it. EA management supports strategic planning and will improve the quality of decision-making and contribute to the consensus among managers.


Learning Objectives

Next up is a short summary of all the learning objectives of the course. The OU always has such a summary for every course they provide. I think this is really useful since it allows me to focus better. I usually have this lying around somewhere when I read through the text book so I know what to look for.

  • Describe the key building blocks of successful EAM initiatives
  • Describe the EAM life cycle within organizations
  • Know the main principles of modeling approaches with regard to EA
  • Compare the various EA frameworks and approaches
  • Explain how to successfully introduce and embed EAM practices, artifacts, and roles within an
  • Use EAM in a real-life research case/project

I will have to get back to you once I know what this all means.


Course structure and deliverables

So for this course, we, the students are going to design EA and EA Management documents for a real organization. This organization could be the one we work for, or we choose some other. So I’ll probably do it for Dephion, or a company where my team members work. Yeah, this is a group assignment of a maximum of four members.

This paper / document must be at least 12 pages, excluding the introduction, references and other pages that don’t provide any real content. This material all must be original and not be copied from research papers or books. I think this is a given in academics if you ask me. It does not hold up for this blog since I copied parts of some from the introduction document here and there. But then again, this is no academic paper.

The findings and/or results from this paper must be presented by the team and each team member must take part in this presentation. We will organize some ‘mini conference’ where each group gets to present it’s results so I think this will be interesting.

There will also be weekly individual assignments but I’m not sure what these are for now.

They also noted we are going to use the following textbook: ‘Strategic Enterprise Architecture Management. Challenges, Best Practices and future development’, by Ahlemann, Stettiner, Messerschmidt and Legner (Eds.).  (Which I found literally on my first hit in my search engine)



I think doing this course is going to be very interesting. I’m not quite sure how much time it costs me each week but I’ll try to blog a bit about my progressions and things I learn. We will need to read a lot in the book and other research papers so I expect at least a couple of small blogs about interesting topics I find here and there.

A really nice thing is that Dephion will allow us to study at the office if the schedule permits it, so I’ll have to see how that plays out. But I think I will be able to spend some time on this at work, which is really nice since it will probably involve Dephion as an organization and I can get some quick feedback from colleagues then as well 🙂



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