My last post shared 3 tips for how I start the movement towards well orchestrated change. Today I want to dive in and talk about the approaches I use.
I describe EA as…
Imagine the possibilities through design – I believe you must show value immediately for something to be supported and I do this by creating that first instance of the EA Consolidated Roadmap within a three to four month period. Now I realize there is NO WAY to create a detailed and precise design within four months which is why I start passively. I lead the creation of the MVP (Most Viable Product) or a starting point and then I start participating in “change” to evolve and validate that design.
Make it come alive through projects – I believe you must demonstrate by example for something to be truly understood and I do this by selecting a project to work with… a project to demonstrate what an “EA Influenced Project” looks like. I realize there is NO WAY to walk in and take control of how an organization runs their projects which is why I start passively. I lead the creation of an Architecture Review Board… and I start by running that review board as more of a show and tell. Each meeting focuses on:
efficiencies that other business areas can take advantage of and
a new way of ensuring strategic components and decisions are taken care of.
Which brings me to STAY IN YOUR LANE… I know there are all sorts of architects out there and they range from assorted levels and areas of focus. When I talk about Enterprise Architecture I am talking about the architects that sit at a strategic level. They exist to connect the dots across the organization, they do not specialize in products or systems. These architects focus their attention on ensuring change does not impact the business across the organization. They follow the information flow and business activities across the highest business functions end to end across the organization. They look for patterns across departments searching for ways to bring efficiencies, reduce costs and potential risks and achieve the vision. They must be continuously evolving and testing their thinking against changes being proposed, technology advancements and expectations. They must be willing to put up their hand when contradictions appear.
Please keep the suggestions coming so that together we can keep it at it’s best.
This course contains four sections, each section walks you through the steps I take to create a roadmap for an Enterprise Architecture Practice. The roadmap is a list of activities that need to transpire to move an organization from a level 0 to 5 EA maturity.
Similar to creating an EA Consolidated Roadmap for an organization you must start with an understanding of the vision for the EA Practice. Ideally all organizations should have a vision to achieve a level 5 maturity but not all leaders are willing to invest in something they do not completely understanding.
My approach is to educate the organization while gaging the maturity level with a goal to have the senior executives asking… “What is the appropriate Enterprise Architecture Practice for our organization?” and not “Do we need an Enterprise Architecture Practice?”
The course focuses on the 5 areas measured when gaging an organization’s EA Maturity level:
EA Process and Activities – the tasks performed by the EA Team. EA is all about orchestrated change and it is the EA process and activities that put structure around organizational change. Having structure around change ensures potential risks and liabilities are addressed and that projects achieve business goals and objectives.
EA Team – consists of five architectural disciplines lead by the Enterprise Architect. Each architectural discipline ensures their area of expertise is considered at all times. The leader of the EA team bridges the gap between business and technical.
Governance – vehicle to manage organizational change.
Business Processes – are what the organization does. Having a level 5 EA Maturity means all business processes are managed and monitored using KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and change is based on metrics of how well each of the business processes is performing.
Organizational Commitment – Enterprise Architecture must be embedded within the full organization for it to be successful if there is not a commitment from the full organization a level 5 maturity will never be realized.
The course starts with walking you through the steps to understand the senior executive’s vision with respect to an EA Practice. Once the vision is understood the course will explain how to gage the organization’s current EA Maturity Level. By analyzing the current state and discussing what I have learned throughout my career I will help you identify the activities needed to move your organization from a level 0 maturity to a level 5.
Enterprise Architecture is about creating orchestrated change. Understanding the vision and then designing a plan for how to move the organization from the current state to the future is one of the main objectives of an Enterprise Architect.
The only way to do this is to understand the senior executive teams’ visions, priorities, and appetite for change. Senior executives are the ones accountable and liable for the organization and for this “change” to be successful there must be one clear vision and direction endorsed by the FULL senior executive team.
Time and time again I am asked… How do you get the senior executive team to land on one clear direction and more importantly how and what do you get them to prioritize? My response to questions like those is… How much time do you have?
Every organization is different, and the answers depend on the environment and the people within it, there is no way to just give one answer to those questions. What I can do is walk you through the process that I take to come up with the answers and along the way explain some of the hurdles I have run into.
I land on the vision by focussing on:
what the business of the organization is and what it should be,
the systems, both processes and applications within the organization and are they following industry best practices,
the strategic areas of change and what they mean to operations and
each of the individual senior executives’ thoughts and goals.
I bring the full senior executive team together and challenge them on aspects of the four focus areas mentioned above, we explore status quo versus eutopia type scenarios. Taking this approach will get discussions going and will lead to the best decision for the full organization with the one leader typically the CEO making the final decision.
I land on a prioritization by focussing on:
business capabilities or the functionality it takes to perform the business activities and
potential risks which includes such things as manual errors, inefficiencies, data integrity, safety, reputational and litigation to name just some.
Knowing that priorities must be driven from a risk, liability, compliance, value add and modernization perspective I apply potential risks to business capabilities. I then present them to the full senior executive team during a prioritization exercise where we explore what was observed during job shadowing sessions.
I have spent the last 30 years working in the IMIT field and I want to share my experience to help organizations during this uncertain time. My worry is that due to this social distancing it is almost impossible to bring experts in so we must come together and use the resources we have.
During this time it is the strategic resources that can help executives come up with a plan. A plan that will not only help them continue their services but help repurpose their staff so that they are not adding to this economic crisis.
Last week I put out a video showing how Business Architecture can help, and today I am offering my services free of charge. Please reach out if you would like to chat and learn more in addition to that I am creating a package to show step by step how to unleash the power of business Architecture and will make it available free of charge in the coming weeks.
Well, my goal was to put out a post each week, then I thought maybe writing a book would be easier, and as you can tell I accomplished neither. I have now started a YouTube Series on Enterprise Architecture.
I have outlined a series that includes three chapters:
. Chapter 1 contains 5 videos geared to the senior executives. Here I talk about what enterprise architecture is and why every organization needs it.
. Chapter 2, yet to be recorded contains information geared to an enterprise architect and their direct report. Here I talk about the approaches I have used to begin an enterprise architecture practise within an organization. Time and time again I hear enterprise architecture doesn’t work. My first thought is you haven’t seen my approach have you?
.Chapter 3, yet to be designed is going to contain a number of videos geared to various positions within an organization. My thinking is I want to share how every position in the organization is important to the success of enterprise architecture and no only that but how every position can benefit from a mature enterprise architecture practise.
Please have a look at the videos and let me know what you think. Give me ideas of what you would like to see, and how I could improve on what I am doing .