Alumni Showcase

ALUMNI SHOW CASE for Matthew Kern

Name: Matthew Ford Kern, CEA

Alumni member since 2007

Concentration: DODAF and FEAF

Other achievements include: 

CISSP-ISSAP (Certified Information System Security Professional- Information System Security Architecture Professional), 2011

Master of Science in Engineering Management specializing in Enterprise Architecture, National University, 2013

Project Management Professional, 2014

Question #1: Please give a brief description of the work you are doing now.  

I currently support DHS Headquarters regarding HSPD-12 security architecture.  I am currently Chief Enterprise Architect for TMR.

Question #2: How has learning Enterprise Architecture shaped your thinking?   

By 1992 I was principal system engineer and project manager for ATI/PRC.  We produced many large integrated systems at PRC. I had read Zachman in 1990 or 91.  Initially Zachman’s ZIF was about producing better large integrated systems for the customer.  This thinking aligned directly with other thinking at our company, which was a leading large system integrator at the time.  However it gave such thinking a formal structure, merging with C4ISR (which became TOGAF) and later DODAF.  Large scale integration architecture now had some engineering formalism appropriate to the money and effort being spent. I adopted it immediately.

Separately I became aware of another kind of architecture.  I had also read NIST Special Publication 500-167, the first document to use the term “Enterprise Architecture, published in 1989.  This document described, in an initial way, the effort at a customer to control the portfolio of IT projects related to transformation or performance improvement of the organization.  It became clear to me that Zachman’s thinking could also be applied to this different kind of architecture, this different and larger scope.  Later this thinking became FEA and FEAF.  It took me longer to participate in this customer side of architecture, but the integrated holism of that vision became my top level structure and management thinking regarding technology.

Question #3: What types of continuing education activities do you engage in to further your EA skills? 

Each year I am required to amass PDUs/EADUs for three accrediting organizations: FEAC, (ISC)2 and PMI.  I take classes.  I write papers.  I engage in self-study.  I look for opportunities to use education credits in one certification area to satisfy others.  Rarely, I speak at a conference or something like that.

Question #4: What advice would you offer to other EAs looking to advance their careers? 

EA is 25 years old.  The formative years of EA are over.  Do not create new frameworks, or recreate existing work, but instead work to consolidate, standardize, promote and market EA.  Work to extend the profession into new areas, not to rehash old areas.

Question #5: What do you see as one of the challenges facing Enterprise Architects in the work place? 

Customers see low strategic value in EA because they think it is tactical solution architecture.  They do not see the strategic value of top-level EA in managing the portfolio with CPIC aka portfolio management.

Question #6: What do think are important characteristics for an EA to possess? 

You must merge business or operational understanding with technical understanding.  If you have one, study the other.  You must write and speak well.  You must understand the difference between strategic, operational and tactical level plans and efforts.  You must be credible and have a strong professional image.

Question #7: Is there anything you want to share with the community of Enterprise Architects?  

Frameworks will consolidate.  However frameworks operate at different levels and focus on different parts o the EA picture (see my paper on the 5 activities).  It is better to have 5 frameworks that work together than one big bloated framework so vast no one can use it or understand it in total.

Connect with Matthew on LinkedIN at https://www.linkedin.com/in/enterprisearchitectsystemseng