Chess and the Art of Enterprise Architecture

Agile Enterprise Architecture, with or without Agile development methods — based on actual experience

Screen Shot 2014-10-07 at 7 October 13.51.41Enterprise Architecture is the discipline of managing the complexities of the Business-IT landscape. It has been around since the 1980’s, when for the first time computers were connected in networks, and the already serious (and unsolved) problem of the complexity of computer programs for relatively simple business needs turned into the huge problem of large networks of them in complex business landscapes. In spite of many `best practices’ and `frameworks’ that have been introduced, Enterprise Architecture is not a great success. After thirty years, we still have the same problems. Chaos is still everywhere. Projects still fail far too often.

Image_288In this book, (hidden) assumptions behind the existing approaches to enterprise architecture are challenged, and a more realistic perspective that helps us battle the complexities and unpredictabilities of today’s Business-IT landscapes is described. Practical suggestions about enterprise architecture governance and products, based on real-world experience with the described approach, complete the book.

From general management to IT professionals, everyone who is confronted with the problem of managing Business-IT landscapes can profit from the insights this book offers. No specialist prior knowledge is required.

About Gerben Wierda.

How to try before you buy

Image_298There is a free excerpt (PDF file) you can download for free. It contains the table of contents and the first chapter (the prologue: Loosely Coupled Spaghetti), you can get a feel for the style and the content (and the loosely coupled spaghetti story is fun by itself). Two other small segments have been published on the net: Are you an Enterprise Architect? Really? (about principles and guidelines) and Low-Hanging Cloud (an illustrative appendix, not core to the argument of the book): I’ve also put a rather extensive  summary online. The accompanying presentation (as given at Gartner’s EA Summit for instance) can be seen online: Presentation Chess and the Art of EA available on YouTube (but the book is better).

How to buy

Image_299Before I tell you how to purchase Chess and the Art of Enterprise Architecture, I’d like to use this opportunity to point you at my other (reasonably popular) EA book: Mastering ArchiMate – Edition III. That is a book about actual enterprise architecture modelling using the leading EA modelling language ArchiMate. It contains a basic explanation of the language (also available as a free download) and many, may patterns and use cases (240 large pages, full colour with 385 diagrams) and it is available as a hardcover and as PDF. There is a special bundle of Mastering ArchiMate Edition III and Chess and the Art of Enterprise Architecture available at a discount of €5.

Chess and the Art of Enterprise Architecture is available in a small, easy to carry, paperback, as an iBook and as a stamped PDF.


The list prices (without any VAT, sales tax, etc.) for the paperback are (as of April 4, 2015):

  • USD 19.99
  • GBP 14.99
  • AUD 28.99
  • EUR 18.99

Note Oct 30, 2017: I just found out that this section has erroneously mentioned quite higher prices for a long, long time (e.g. USD 24.99 for the US). Silly me.

If I know sources, I’ll add them here:

More sites will follow. Book stores that have a link with Ingram Lightning Source (LSI) can get it directly from LSI. Volume purchase offers can be had directly from R&A via:



Chess and the Art of Enterprise Architecture is also available as an iBook. This books has a completely different look and feel than the PDF (see below). Footnotes and endnotes have for instance been created in such a way that they are a better fit for a touch device.

The price depends on where you are, as iBooks prices are inclusive of sales tax. The book has been priced at roughly two thirds of the paperback version. So, $14.99 ex sales tax (instead of $24.99) in the US and €14.99–€16.99 (inclusive VAT) in Europe (Euro). Click
the iBooks logo for the iTunes Preview page.


Chess and the Art of Enterprise is finally also available as PDF for those who like to read it on a device instead of on paper. This version looks exactly like the paper version (which means: more elegant than the iBook). The endnotes and links will sometimes be difficult to hit, especially on small devices.
Note: this version will be stamped with your name and email address and it cannot be changed or printed, highlighting and adding notes is possible. Please read the note on the Mastering ArchiMate site): €14.99 for a single reader (VAT will be added when you’re in the EU, see below). Click here to buy. Note: EU customers get sales tax added.

When you buy from an EU country, EU VAT is added. Starting on 1 Jan 2019, the VAT rate for all sales in the EU is 9% (the Dutch rate for e-Books as of 1 Jan 2020) as a result of EU VAT rules (when you sell less that k€10 per year to other EU countries, you need to charge local VAT and pay that to the local tax authorities). If you need to buy as a business with Reverse VAT based on your EU VAT ID, I need to create a special invoice, arrange payment, send you a 100% discount coupon code and do a lot of (tax) administration (each transaction takes a lot of work). For this, I charge an administration fee of €7.

If you have added some of the above to your cart: View Cart. Selling of the PDF is done via the excellent services of DPDNote: to get anything via DPD (even free stuff) you need to enter a valid e-mail address. A download link is then sent to that email address. Entering a bogus email address to protect your privacy will not work as you will then never receive the download link. Please read the end of the message in the red circle above..

No Kindle

Given Amazon’s Kindle pricing (they take 65%(!) of every book over $9.99 —and in many countries also for books below $9.99 — plus a download fee), there will not be a Kindle version. High volume, low pricing is fine for the likes of Dan Brown, but not for a professional low-volume book like this. Sorry.

Poorly readable images?

There are a few images in the appendices that are only borderline readable given the book’s size and paper type. And they do not scale properly in the PDF (I should do something about that). If you have the book and you want a better quality picture than available in print, please download this PDF: ChessAndTheArtOfEA-ImagesBook (downloads/opens the PDF) which contains the images in perfect quality (and some in colour even). For those who want to download them out of curiosity: The four grayscale pictures are part of the main story of the book, the three colour images are not, they are part of an appendix. All pictures are rather useless without the underlying story.

Feedback and Reviews

Apart from reviews in various online stores, here are a few mentions and reviews (added as I become aware of them, let me know if you wrote one):

  • Read the reviews on Amazon (4.5 out of 5 stars, as per Jan 2021)
  • Making good architectural moves is a post on the blog “The Learning CTO” that discusses/mentions the book (as well as contains a lot of valuable things from the author’s own experience);
  • Lezers lezen: IT-architectuur geschaakt | is a Dutch review by a reader of Computable who also works for ArchiXL (an EA firm that is a strong proponent of the use of architecture principles, which ‘EA Chess’ strongly criticises).
  • David Mayer posted a review on LinkedIn. Quote (blush): “Main thesis aside, the book is packed with insightful nuggets of advice, observations and reflections which allude to the author being a seasoned enterprise architect.”
  • Edward Chalk reviewed the book on April 23, 2020. I found this via the reviews on Goodreads.
  • When Grady Booch was asked on Twitter to list good books on architecture, he answered with images of covers of books he had on his bookshelf (three tweets, one shown below). Chess and the Art of Enterprise Architecture, was one of them. I’m deeply honoured:


  1. Excellent reading. I personally am fond of this writing style, degree of abstract with sparse concrete exemples. Good balance. I do like the spirit and think that remarks on Wittgenstein are correct. We are close to a Wabi-Sabi stance with additional constraints linked to architecture and design.

    I bought the bundle in PDF format so one comments here : It would be nice to have a link to the pictures of the book so we can see them at a readable resolution.
    Fig D.2 (p. 205) and fig. D.3 (page 210) are barely readable, I just cannot read the second.


    1. Thanks for the nice words. [EDIT: I mistakenly replied on my phone thinking it was about the ArchiMate book). Instead I have to point you to the text above, where it says:

      There are a few images in the appendices that are only borderline readable given the book’s size and paper type. If you have the book and you want a better quality picture than available in print, please download this PDF: ChessAndTheArtOfEA-ImagesBook (downloads/opens the PDF) which contains the images in perfect quality. For those who want to download them out of curiosity: The four grayscale pictures are part of the main story of the book, the three colour images are not, they are part of an appendix. All pictures are rather useless without the underlying story.


      1. My bad, I totally missed that section.
        Thanks again for the prompt and detailed answer.


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