Course Enterprise Architecture – Step 1 – Strategy

03 Apr, 2023
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This article is the start of sharing the highlights of our course at the Master of Informatics ICT Deeltijdopleidingen – Hogeschool Utrecht

This course has been handed over from EA to EA, and currently in hands of Ton EusterbrockRené Bliekendaal and myself. My second run as teacher Enterprise Architecture is near the finishline and still loving it. Looking forward to the next years to come.

We will improve the course continuously based on feedback from our students and feedback from you. Please feel free to provide feedback, so that we can learn.

#architecture #enterprisearchitecture #masterofscience

Enterprise Architecture – Step 1 – Strategy 

Enterprise Architecture as a topic is evolving and gaining in interest at various organizations in the Netherlands and abroad. The Enterprise Architect course I teach, together with two other experienced architects, Ton Eusterbrock and René Bliekendaal are fully-booked three times a year. We think that the shift towards Agile and the recognition of the complex and unpredictable world we live in, is fuelling the need for coherence in the organization.

Enterprise Architecture is the capability of an organization to provide insight in the coherence between the outside world and the inside world of an organization in respect to People, Process and Technology.

Educational Context

At the Master of Informatics (M.Sc.) track at the HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht (Hogeschool Utrecht) professionals develop their knowledge and capabilities via various courses as CyberSecurity, Enterprise Architecture and by delivering an M.Sc. Thesis on their research.

The master course at the Hogeschool Utrecht (HU) has been handed over from Enterprise Architect to Enterprise Architect in the years. The course itself is in Dutch and all material is in English.

Goal of sharing

I would like to share this summary of the course to a wider audience, so providing a bit more insight on the content of this seven-week course, and since sharing knowledge is the intrinsic motivator why we teach.

People who are not able to attend the course in Utrecht due to language or logistics, can use this series of seven (7) blogs for self education or preparation for the course at the HU in Utrecht. See Enterprise Architecture | mastermodule | Hogeschool Utrecht

Another well known Master Course Enterprise Architecture at the Antwerp Management School, see Executive Master Enterprise IT Architecture | Course – Program | AMS for more information.

Good to take note that the content in Antwerp is different from the content of this blog series, but in the end it all boils down to techniques on how to analyse the coherence in the organization.

Week 1 of 7 – Strategy of your organization

Week 1 of the course will stay away from the specifics of Enterprise Architecture and will focus on the role of Enterprise Architecture and the relation between the strategy of an enterprise and enterprise Architecture. To get here, we first need to zoom in into what is strategy.

The strategy of you.

To guide your actions and the interpretation of your observations, you need something as a compass. When you peel the onion, this boils down to finding your purpose, or your personal why. Your goal is your personal strategy definition.

The work of Goldratt (the goal) [The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement] and Sinek (the golden circle) [Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to T…] are famous for addressing the importance of defining your goal on a personal level and on the level of your organization.

How great leaders inspire action | Simon Sinek

The strategy of your enterprise.

The researcher Mintzberg [Henry Mintzberg] produced plenty of research on the need and the role of strategy for an enterprise. Mintzbergs’ famous books: “Strategy Safari” [Strategy Safari: A Guided Tour Through The Wilds of Str…] and “The rise and fall of strategic planning” [The Rise and Fall of Strategic Planning: Reconceiving R…] address the 10 schools of thoughts of strategy and addresses the relation between the drivers of your strategy and your strategy.

Mintzberg also explains why it is a fallacy to design the solution to your drivers via your strategy. This theme is recurring in this first week lecture and throughout our course.

Mintzberg on strategy

Mintzberg on strategy


We position in our course Enterprise Architecture in between the strategy and ambitions on our left and the decision-making on our right. Enterprise Architecture needs to support decision-making. To know which decision there are to make, you first need to make sense of your context.

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Enterprise Architecture supports Decision Making alligned with the strategy

Sense making with Cynefin

To have a clear goal is challenging enough for most enterprises, but what makes it so much more challenging is that the context of your enterprise can be unpredictable. And when you zoom in, this might even be more nuanced. Dave Snowden and his Cynefin sense making framework [Cynefin framework] is a great tool to make sense of your personal context and decide what would be the smart thing to do. When talking about sense making we also introduce the OODA Loop (Observe, Orient, Decide, Act) which was developed by United States Air Force Colonel John Boyd [OODA loop].

Where an organization is the collaboration of multiple persons, sense making starts at a personal level and then needs to be shared amongst the collaborating people, to be able to make sense as a collective.

Complex Adaptive Systems – Dave Snowden – DDD Europe 2018

Design for Digital Transformation

There are a various way to evolve your understanding of Enterprise Architecture in the context of organizational change. We construct our course around the book “Designed for digital: How to architect your business for sustained success. “ by Ross, J. W., Beath, C. M., & Mocker, M. (2019). [Designed for Digital: How to Architect Your Business fo…]

We believe that this book is appropriate for business professionals and also valuable for IT professionals. This book embraces the need for resilience and speed in the service offering of an enterprise, with respect to the situational context.

During the course, we guide the journey of our students starting to place Digital Transformation in perspective to the context of their personal case organization, and help each other with identifying the building blocks needed in the digital transformation of their case organization.

2020 Digital Transformation – Jeanne Ross

Decision-making and Decision Power 

Key for guiding change and informing decisions, you need to know who makes the decisions and what they need as a person to come to a decision.

Henry Mintzberg on Decision-Making

Henry Mintzberg on Decision Making

Looking ahead: week 2 of 7

Next week the focus will be on what is a digital transformation, what is the difference between a digital transformation and digitizing your company, and how Ross et al. are breaking down this topic.

Personal Note: on Security

I personally am specializing in the domain of security through the Enterprise Architecture lens, where Ton and Rene are specialists in developing an Enterprise Architecture as a Practice. I would like to add my reflection on why Enterprise Architecture is relevant for the domain of security.

It is the unpredictable context of your enterprise that you as an enterprise need to prepare for to become and stay secure. Where I embrace the definition of security as the overlap between your expectation and the reality. Therefore, if something happens what you do not accept, this threatens your Business Continuity and therefore can be labelled as insecure.

In the security domain, the approach of creating the perfect design was for a long time the leading school of thought, just as with strategic planning. Mintzberg and many others have provided evidence in reasoning and in observation that planning for the unknown unknown is not the way to go.

When you design the enterprise with the sub-goal of improving security, and as security being a quality attribute of the enterprise, then you need to address security not only in each part but also to the organization as a whole. This demands a holistic view on the organization of how all is connected to improve security.

So also with the topic of Security it starts with identifying the goals and drivers, sense making of your context and then identifying who makes the decisions on implementing any organizational design, to achieve improvement of your quality attribute security.


The content of the course at Utrecht is part of a long-lasting tradition between Enterprise Architects, therefore the content of this blog is only permitted to be used as inspiration and for self-learning on the topic. If you want to participate in teaching the same content, please contact us to find a way to do this with respect to the history and to the ICT Deeltijdopleidingen – Hogeschool Utrecht.

Sharing Knowledge

Xebia’s core values are: People First, Sharing Knowledge, Quality without Compromise and Customer Intimacy. That is why this blog entry is published under the Licence of Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 (CC BY-SA).


The image is from Greg Rakozy at Unsplash [] Spiral Jetty, United States, Published on October 13, 2015, Canon, EOS 5D Mark II, Free to use under the Unsplash License

Kind regards Edzo Botjes

Edzo Botjes
Antifragility Architect & Variety Engineer at Xebia. A Shrek look a like. Loves Coffee, Food, Roadtripping & Zen. ENFP-T. Phd candidate for resilient information security and governance. edzob @ Signal, Linkedin, WWW, Medium, Riot/Matrix, Wire, Telegram

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