Monday, August 2, 2010

Some recent thoughts on EA

Comments on 5 useful recent thoughts from others on EA (and some others)

My conclusion.

I think we can see a broad consensus on the need for more focus on business issues; collaboration and communication (speaking in language business understand not technical terms/languages) etc. Most importantly the need for vision and leadership.

1. The Quantum of Integration:
.. The act of thinking about something from different perspective actually influences the architecture. The focus on the business issues (e.g. capabilities) is often what one finds lacking.

2. Trends in Enterprise Architecture:
I agree there will be
- ... more business focused, delivering measurable value through strategy, governance and focus on critical interface between key enterprise components.
- ... more emphasis on strategy, process and governance and less on frameworks
- ... important skills for EAs are shifting toward the Business and Information layers in the Architecture domain stack
- ... EA activities that provide immediate value to the business are better first steps towards maturity. Focus on providing easily consumed, strategic deliverables that executives can use to make decisions
- ... Less "boil the ocean" analytic exercises with dubious short term value will be tolerated.
- ... define repeatable processes for producing EA deliverables then measure progress against these with a set of metrics.

3. Collaboration in EA is the key to Success - is an excellent item by Denis Suto

4. The state of enterprise architecture: Vast promise or lost opportunity?
... the discipline of EA and compare it to mature professions ... we’re back 200–300 years ago.
... you have to be able to do it [make the argument] in the language of the audience that you're speaking to. This is probably one of the biggest problems that architects coming from a technical background have.
... reluctance to think that the way we get more value from IT is basically by taming it, by establishing a vision and building to standards and understanding how that relates back to new ways of doing business, and actually developing standards around business processes and around data.
... The architect’s role is to make sure that there is a vision....
... "... we need to begin generating value from more disciplined processes."
... underpinning all of that is what is the business trying to achieve? What is their vision and what is their goal?
... have to be very clear on what is the end state, what is the goal, what is the business transformation, and how will the digital assets of the corporation—the IT asset—actually enable where they’re going...
... fundamental with leadership in EA is that architects don’t own things. They are not responsible for the business processes. .. They are responsible for leading a group of people to that transformation...
... If you don't have good leadership skills, the rest of the fundamentally doesn’t matter
... If you do not lead and do not take the risk to lead, the transformation won’t occur. One of the barriers for the profession today is that many architects are not prepared to take the risk of leadership.

5. Chris Curran's EA blog - his comments in blue, my views bold:

- An exhaustive enterprise level blueprint is virtually impossible to build
Wrong and based on the wrong premise, it is like saying and exhaustive view of our finance (accounting) or customers (CRM) is impossible to build. Obviously it isn't if it built using an enterprise by the enterprise.
- The best strategy blends a direction-setting enterprise blueprint and business unit and domain blueprints
Perhaps, not if the strategy is to abandon or outsource the unit/domain.
- Centralized accountability for the EA function is a predictor of success - A centralized team of architects is critical in driving EA standards and approaches
Partly correct, a centralised team of people anyway (architects may focus on the wrong things) and a these in fact to be engage a distributed set of SMEs, the project teams how consume.
- Architects must be assigned to projects as core team members - perhaps. Are town planners assigned to building design projects.
Maybe. Governance shouldn't be done by pursuasion or covertly (the town laws, or electrical wiring code doesn't pursuade adoption - it is mandated)
- EA should be measured in 2 ways: business capabilities delivered and costs of core services
Wrong - I would say their are other ways e.g. risk reduction
- Measure EA as an asset
Perhaps, but it is hard do measure the value of a better strategy? It is easy to see Steve's Job's strategy was right now. If it was obvious before hand why didn't others do it.
- Architecture leadership requires strong management, business operations and technology skills, most likely in 3 different types of people; don’t expect your chief architect to run the EA function
- Methods and governance must be integrated into existing work processes rather than an overlay
They be both (see town planning - methods are integrated into delivery and their is an overlay checking compliance).
Enterprise Architecture is not always the best name for communicating; maybe Strategy & Planning or Enterprise Transformation is better
- The best large companies have “business architecture” teams reporting to the business (or dual reporting to business and IT)
Probably - I have not seen the facts
- Leading companies have reference architectures in place for 90% of the technical domains - Maybe - I have not seen the facts
- Senior enterprise architects must have the right cultural skills and awareness to integrate well with upstream business partners and downstream technical users
- High performance groups maintain consistent, formalized EA involvement in the SDLC to translate blueprints into sufficiently detailed starting architectures for each project as well as accurate cost and resource estimates
- Mature organizations target 40% EA resource time for strategic planning and 60% on SDLC tasks, and typically err on spending more time on SDLC tasks
- Strong credibility and trust amongst Business and IT partners is a predictor of EA success. Credibility has typically been gained via joint strategic planning efforts, one project at a time - Yes.

Some others:

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