EA Professional Oath

(December 2015 – Note: CAEAP seems to have expired, the original link no longer works)

The Center for the Advancement of the Enterprise Architecture Profession (CAEAP) has created something that on first sight seems like a very good idea: the Enterprise Architect Professional Oath.

The oath itself is one of eight what they call “pillars” of the profession, though from the website it is not yet entirely clear what the other 7 are. For that you need to download the CAEAP brochure (they are the in the “infrastructure ” part).

I read the text of the oath, and was quite impressed with it. In a concise and clear language it states ethical principles on which our work, but for that matter any professional’s work, should be founded. I signed the oath, thinking: we all should do that and state it publicly in our communications. We see too much ethical “bending” let alone outright fraud in our profession. Consultants have an interest not in creating solutions that work, but in tying the customer to them and creating dependencies that ensure them of continued work.

Then I had a conversation with someone I communicated the above action with. Her immediate response was: “rubbish!”.

“Why rubbish? I think it is a very good thing to be more aware of ethical conduct.”

“True”, she said. “But ethical conduct should be something you prove in your actions. Not by stating whatever oath or pledge.”

I felt I could do nothing but agree with her on this. She continued: “I would go even so far as to say: if I were to know you signed such an oath, I would trust you even less! We see what the value of an oath is in medicine or in religion. And what do you think potential employers or customers would think if they knew you were such an ethical bigot? Would they not fear you would expose them in case they were directly or indirectly involved in illicit actions? You are only making it harder to get customers!”

Mmmm. I think she might be right in this. What do you think?

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