Enterprise Architecture, risk and horses

Does horse riding have anything to do with Enterprise Architecture?

Yes, and I will explain why. For me, to manage risk when doing changes and prepare for new opportunities are the main reason for doing EA. The same goes with horses.


Let’s be very clear, riding a horse could be dangerous, even fatal if you are unprepared or just have bad luck. 

The rewards are tremendous from a well-being perspective so there is a huge opportunity if you start riding. Therefore this is a very good example of mindset for an Enterprise Architect.

I started to take a few riding lessons less than two years ago at the age of fifty three. You could compare this with an old company trying to do a new business and we all know it’s hard to learn old dogs and men.

To minimise risk, you have to know what your are into to kind of project and understand the basics. Otherwise things can go very very wrong, fast.

Thanks to an understanding wife for her patience with my new interest.

For those of you who don’t ride a horse, here is some basics.

Easy to handle a horse? It depends.

Your horse you are going to ride is either a gelding (castrated male), mare (female), stallion (male) with the latter often much more difficult to ride. Thoroughbreds are considered "hot-blooded" compared to other horseraces, so the race also matters in the equation, but could be very individual. 

Riding looks simple, isn’t it?

You ride the horse in walk (slow), trot (medium) or canter (fast) in an indoor riding arena, an outdoor riding arena or in the countyside where anything could happend. Horses are escape animals, and they run away from what they think are dangers. Hint, the run very fast, even with you on their back.

When you like to step up a level or two, you add one or more fences to jump over.

If you want to a change or to do something completely new, you need to get the basic knowledge of your challenge, but also know your ability to manage the changes to the situation. Do you and the team that will do the delivery have the right skills?

If you as a beginner at age, get a thoroughbred stallion to ride in canter on the countryside alone, you are begging for trouble. In the best case, you can eat the cake yourself when celebrating your first fall from high heights. Worst case, your funeral.

With large transformation programs, the desicion makers seldom have the understanding of the challange they are into, but they are bold and brave. The result is often a disaster that results in a funeral party for the program.

To manage the risks for my own oppourtunity at the stable, I begun to walk with a thoroughbred mare in the meadow and outside the farm, just to know her. My first riding on her was a slow walk indoors until I got better in the saddle. After four weeks did we have our first outdoor walk together, and I found out that it hurt to fall.

A few weeks later I begun to feel comparable enough to trot inside. Last week, we were trotting together in the countryside and our next ambition is now to be able to canter indoors.

To succeed with transformation programs, you need to know the difficulties in the program, your ability to perform changes and do a resonable plan without taking too much risk with the consequences for fatal failures.

A mindset that works both on the horseback and as an Enterprise Architect.