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Considering a Code of Ethics for Enterprise Architects
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Considering a Code of Ethics for Enterprise Architects By Steve Nunn, CEO, Association of Enterprise Architects As a professional association, the Association of Enterprise Architects (AEA) in part exists to provide guidance for Enterprise Architects with their careers and career paths. Although many people in the industry have been thinking about career paths for Enterprise Architects for quite some time, there has been no organization that has taken on the (perhaps daunting) task of pulling together requirements and qualifications for practicing Enterprise Architects.

 

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Top tags: code of ethics  EA  enterprise architects  enterprise architecture profession 

Considering a Code of Ethics for Enterprise Architects

Posted By Birgit Hartje, Monday, June 9, 2014

Considering a Code of Ethics for Enterprise Architects

By Steve Nunn, CEO, Association of Enterprise Architects

 

As a professional association, the Association of Enterprise Architects (AEA) in part exists to provide guidance for Enterprise Architects with their careers and career paths. Although many people in the industry have been thinking about career paths for Enterprise Architects for quite some time, there has been no organization that has taken on the (perhaps daunting) task of pulling together requirements and qualifications for practicing Enterprise Architects.

 

Our goal in the AEA is to be the professional body for Enterprise Architects. As such, in addition to providing guidance on professional issues such as certification guidance or helping members form work groups related to what they’re working on and interested in, one of the initiatives that the AEA leadership has been exploring over the past few years is whether we should pursue a process of establishing Enterprise Architecture as a formal “profession.”

 

There are a number of requirements and steps that must be taken to take a work role from a “job” to a formal “profession.” Establishing a baseline body of knowledge that practitioners are expected to know and understand is one requirement. This may or may not include a formal education component, or at the very least a requirement for formal experience in the field.

 

One of the reasons to transition a “job” to a “profession” is to provide clients with reassurance that the people they are working with have proven a set of skills, as defined by the profession, to perform the work they do. For example, people within the medical, dental or legal professions are granted professional status as medical doctors, dentists or lawyers because they have studied curriculums outlined for their professions and often have passed exams that show they possess the body of knowledge necessary to practice that profession. As such, professional status helps build a sense of trust between clients and practitioners because it speaks to a level of professional mastery.

 

In addition to determining a professional body of knowledge, one of the other things that sets professions apart is a Code of Ethics that provides guidelines for how professionals are expected to behave in service to their clients.

 

Developing a Code of Ethics

On the path to professionalization, creating a Code of Ethics is a significant step toward making a discipline a profession. In fact, development of a Code of Ethics that addresses both how to serve others and prevent professional malpractice has been one of the key characteristics that sets members of formal professions apart from being a member of a professional association or a union

 

A code of professional ethics accomplishes a number of things. First and foremost it makes it unnecessary for members of the profession to have to consider every situation in which a member may use their knowledge for personal or professional gain from an ethical perspective. In real-life situations encountered on a daily basis, it can often be difficult to navigate the grey areas of our jobs or of business situations. Not only is it impossible for all of us to be ethicists or moral philosophers, interpreting sticky situations can vary from individual to individual. Having a Code of Ethics provides much-needed guidance for potential problems so that individuals or organizations don’t have to consider every situation from scratch.

 

In addition, a Code of Ethics can set expectations for roles and values within a profession. It also serves to foster a sense of pride within the profession among practitioners. It can provide a support system for professionals that holds up the ideals of the profession as well as provide a basis for resolving disputes between practitioners and clients.

 

In short, a Code of Ethics serves as statement by the profession that demonstrates why the public should believe that individuals within the profession meet certain standards of competence, can be trusted to regulate themselves and be accountable.

 

Calling all Enterprise Architects

As the AEA leadership explores the idea of professionalization for Enterprise Architects, we are looking to our membership to take a step toward formalizing the process by formulating a Code of Ethics for members of the AEA. Len Fehskens has already outlined the process for creating a Code of Ethics in a whitepaper entitled, Notes Toward a Professional Code of Ethics for the Association of Enterprise Architects.” We continue to solicit your thoughts on the issues explored in the document. Please provide feedback here via our discussion forum. 

 

We would like to invite members to join in developing a formal Code of Ethics for the Enterprise Architecture profession. We would like to call on regional chapters to create work groups to help discuss and develop the code. We are also in need of individuals who are willing to spearhead the development of a Code of Ethics and serve as the work group chair and secretary who can help pull the work group together and solicit feedback from the AEA membership on code development.

 

To properly codify the problems and issues that face us as Enterprise Architects on a daily basis, we need your help and input. Only those of us who are in the EA trenches day in and day out can identify the types of situations that any Enterprise Architect may encounter that could pose potential problems or that individuals may struggle with. And there is no one better to determine our code of ethics, the ways we want to present ourselves and behave than we ourselves. A Code of Ethics for Enterprise Architects must be for us and by us. Enterprise Architects must come together to define our boundaries. If we don’t, then who will? Most of us would probably rather not leave that to regulatory bodies or agencies or those that want to define how members of the profession are allowed to or must practice.  

 

Creating a Code of Ethics for Enterprise Architects is an necessary component of moving our work toward formal professional status. As we work toward this goal within the AEA, please join us in defining how we set ourselves apart as professionals by helping us to create a code of ethics that reflects what we want the Enterprise Architecture profession to be.

 

To join the Code of Ethics work group click here

 

To start an Ethics work group in your regional chapter, contact us

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tags:  code of ethics  EA  enterprise architects  enterprise architecture profession 

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