EAC2013 presentation: A Cookbook for Smart EA Practices


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Despite the maturation of the discipline, in many organizations Enterprise Architecture is not applied very effectively, mostly because using structured methods and frameworks is preferred over communicating business value and smart planning of IT investments. The various EA frameworks (e.g., TOGAF) that have been proposed over the past years definitely have their merit, but they also seem to seduce architects to focus on blueprints, elaborate process definitions and ivory towers. Architects simply need to work smarter to be of added value. Based on experience in numerous EA projects and EA trainings delivered in the Netherlands, in this presentation a cookbook for smart EA practices is proposed. The cookbook, which is inspired by success stories from the trenches, adopts and adapts elements from contemporary EA frameworks and other methods, (e.g., stakeholder management, architecture visualizations, business model canvas), and as such provides a step-by-step guide for building or professionalizing an EA function.

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EAC2013 presentation: A Cookbook for Smart EA Practices

  1. 1. A Cookbook for SmartEnterprise ArchitecturePractices12 June 2013Rik FarenhorstEAC2013 conference, London, UK
  2. 2. About meRik FarenhorstManager Business Line Architecture & Strategyinspearit / cibit academyrik.farenhorst@inspearit.comhttp://www.linkedin.com/in/RikFarenhorstinspearit- 170 consultants in 6 countries (Europe, Asia)- Core expertise: Enterprise/IT architecture,Business IT strategy, Process Improvement (e.g.,Agile, CMMI), Security & Risk Management- cibit academy as international brand for trainingservices. In the Netherlands we are market leader inenterprise/IT architecture trainings- Extensive experience in consultancy, coaching andtraining services in enterprise, IT, and solutionarchitecture in the Netherlands for > 20 years(primarily in Public, Finance, and Industry domains)www.inspearit.comwww.cibit.nl
  3. 3. Outline of this presentation1. Enterprise Architecture – observations from the trenches2. EA cookbook - improving the status quo3. Using the cookbook4. Conclusions & Outlook4
  4. 4. DisclaimerSeveral schools of thought exist for EA disciplineEA vs. EITAMy working definition for EA (Gartner):The process of translating business vision andstrategy into effective enterprise change by creating,communicating and improving the key requirements,principles and models that describe the enterprisesfuture state and enable its evolutionThis presentation is by and large EA-definition-independentthe cookbook focuses on core activities neededand essential competences and behaviorrequired of any type of ‘enterprise architect’5© N. Malik, 2012
  5. 5. EA observations from the trenches:Ad hoc Architecting6Typical symptomsEnterprise architects often lack control on how they use their mostprecious resource: their own timeNo ‘play or pass’ guidelinesNo proactive stakeholder involvement strategyNo proper project portfolio management practices establishedLack or reference architectures and enterprise/domain-level visionConsequencesArchitecture efforts are mostlysituational within projects, and arequite time-consumingReactive behavior of architects:mostly damage control andanswering questions (FIFO) insteadof proactive advice at the right time
  6. 6. EA observations from the trenches:Lonesome architects7Typical symptomsVague or trivial high-level enterprise architectureprinciplesDocument/deliverable-driven behavior of architects‘L’architecture pour l’architecture’, e.g., using TOGAF,ArchiMate, Tool XYZ, etc.Ivory tower & ‘gold plating’ behaviorConsequencesArchitects are ignored, or onlyvisited for a signature, and keptat a distance by decision makersLack of useful feedback loopsfrom either domain/solutionarchitecture or ‘the business’
  7. 7. EA observations from the trenches:Architecture Islands8Typical symptomsNo architecture function orgovernance processes to connectarchitecture initiatives at project,business domain and enterprise-levelsMany (different types of)architects, diffuse roles &responsibilities, limitedcommunicationConsequencesToo little reuse of architecture principles, (IT) assets, architecturedescriptions, etc.Lack of feedback to architects from peers on their output and ideasA lot of ‘reinvented wheels’, redundant architecture deliverables withlimited traceability
  8. 8. EA observations from the trenches:IT architecture for ‘the business’9Typical symptomsA lot of business processmodeling, analysis, andbusiness goals/driversdiscussions within ITdepartmentsToo much architecture outputthat does not resonate withbusiness executives nor withother non-IT stakeholders.ConsequencesArchitects are perceived as scientists and/or theorists, unable toget to the point, being detached from the enterpriseBig risk that architecture models and vision are too much rootedin IT and not based on customer needs, markets, businessstrategy, or business value
  9. 9. EA observations from the trenches:SummaryIn many organizations Enterprise Architecture is still not appliedvery effectively (understatement)It is almost a reversed Agile Manifesto. Many enterprise architectsstill valueProcess models and tooling over individuals and interactionsArchitecture frameworks, models and thick documents over aflexible, profitable and customer-driven enterpriseRigid governance structures and formal roles & responsibilitiesover stakeholder collaboration and teamworkBlueprints, target architectures and roadmaps over thecapability to quickly deliver results and respond to change10© Agile Manifesto
  10. 10. EA cookbook - improving the status quoTo help organizations in arriving at a more effective and value-driven enterprise architecture function a cookbook ispresentedBased primarily on hands-on experiences at various smallerand larger organizationsCombined with state-of-the-art EA insights11PrerequisitesEager, flexible architectsCxO-level supportMature organizationWillingness to change
  11. 11. EA cookbook - improving the status quoAnticipate by identifying where architects can contributeCommunicate with stakeholders and learn more about whatarchitects could add (and how)Try things, help only where help is needed, and earn creditsNegotiate about the role and mandate of the architecturefunction and strive for agreement on performance indicatorsOperationalize the agreed upon roles and responsibilities bychoosing your tools of the tradeReuse existing (architecture) assets as much as possibleManage expectations of your colleagues and keystakeholdersApply architecture skills and use available toolkitsto deliver valueLearn from your experiences, continuously12Phase 1SowingPhase 2Reaping[optional]
  12. 12. AnticipateBuild up an overview of all changeinitiatives and projectsBy talking to stakeholders in all layers ofthe organizationEnsure that intimate and up-to-dateknowledge on the relevant stakeholders isgainedStakeholder maps, stakeholderinvolvement strategy, social networkanalysisWho is doing what in the organization,who knows what, ownership andresponsibilities13Identifying where architects can contribute mostPhase 1Sowing
  13. 13. CommunicateAllocate sufficient ‘quality time’ to talk torelevant stakeholders:In projects & programsDecision makers in business unitsBoard room executivesOperationsTalk, but listen more: know what happens, andmake educated guesses on what kind ofenterprise architecture guidance can be usefulwhereStorytelling as effective mechanism to sharethe essential parts of the enterprisearchitectureShow architecture work products and learn fromreactions of stakeholdershow is ‘architecture’ perceived and how are‘architects’ judged, based on earlierencounters?14Learn from stakeholders what architects could add (and how)Phase 1Sowing
  14. 14. TryPlan and prioritize architecture work‘Play or pass’ principleFocus on lightweight interventions andactivitiesSome ‘rules of engagement’:Just enough, just in time80-20 rule (Pareto principle)Visualizations and Powerpoint over (thick)documentsPragmatic but effective, tailored tostakeholders’ needsFast delivery, highly iterativeMarketecture to earn credits from importantstakeholders 15Try things, help only where help is needed, and earn creditsPhase 1Sowing
  15. 15. NegotiateDefine what the EA playing field will beAgreed upon definition and scope of ‘enterprisearchitecture’Link with e.g. bodies for portfolio management,strategy, finance and investment planningDefine KPIs for enterprise architecture functiontogether with sponsors and managementKPI categories: ‘Proof of life’, ‘proof of health’,‘proof of value’Craft an EA charter to commit and to focuscf. preliminary phase TOGAF 9.1Agree on required resources, budget and scopePeopleProcessesTechnology16Negotiate about the role and mandate of the architecturefunction and strive for agreement on performance indicatorsPhase 2Reaping
  16. 16. OperationalizeCreate an EA toolkit with your preferred tools of thetradeFrameworks: TOGAF, Zachman, DYA, etc.Languages: ArchiMate, etc.Tools: Powerpoint, MS Visio, pencil, whiteboards,etc.Standards, reference architectureCompany-specific methods, templates, models,etc.Define types of governance neededArchitecture boardEtc.Define roles & responsibilitiesTypes of architect roles needed (e.g., enterprise,domain, project, solution architects)Architects vs. project and program managers,domain specialists, business analists, etc.17Operationalize the agreed upon roles and responsibilities bychoosing your tools of the tradePhase 2Reaping
  17. 17. ReuseIdentify existing best practicesWhat kind of stakeholder involvement works best in thisorganization?What models or visualizations worked well last time?What are the preferred tools and templates?Align to and build from existing (architecture) assetsBusiness capability models, portfolio descriptions, solutionarchitectures, reference architectures, roadmapsEA seldom starts as ‘greenfield’, but sometimes things are notlabeled as ‘enterprise architecture’ (e.g. informationmanagement)18Reuse existing (architecture) assets as much as possiblePhase 2Reaping
  18. 18. Manage expectationsCreate stakeholder maps and a suitableinvolvement strategy that is updatedregularlyMake sure that all architects and thekey stakeholders agree upon whatenterprise architecture will deliver, andwhat it will not do:Role during strategic planning andinvestment decisionsRole during project portfoliomanagementInfluence and impact in (IT)projectsDivide work clearly over members ofthe enterprise architecture function,and assign responsibilitiesThink of QA processes needed duringarchitecture work and feedbackmechanisms required19Manage expectations of your colleagues and key stakeholdersPhase 2Reaping
  19. 19. ApplyPut things in practice, start ‘doing’ enterprisearchitecture workFollow established rules of engagement,execute on defined architecture processesand smartly divide available timeUse key skills for architects to deliver value [M. Rosen]Situational use of instruments from your toolkitBusiness ModelingCapability modelingIT landscape visualizationsBusiness casesBaseline and target architecturesRoadmapsReference architecturesEtc.20Apply architecture skills and use available toolkits to deliver valuePhase 2Reaping
  20. 20. Apply© inspearit 21Phase 2Reaping
  21. 21. LearnRegularly reflect on the performance of the enterprisearchitecture function, e.g. using a SWOT analysisEffectiveness and popularity of work productsPopularity of architects among stakeholders andcoworkers# of escalations / violations of architecture principlesand decisionsEstablish competence development practices at personaland unit-levelPersonal development plansImportance of certification, standardization,specializationSoft skills, architectural knowledge and domainknowledgeCreate an environment where learning is stimulatedExperiment with architecture processes and productsChange approach or tools of the trade when neededDare to show draft work products to stakeholders: agileapproach to architectingOrganize architecture roadshows, seminars, knowledgesharing sessions 22Learn from your experiences, continuouslyPhase 2Reaping
  22. 22. Using the cookbookAnticipateCommunicateTryNegotiateOperationalizeReuseManage expectationsApplyLearn23Recommendations1. Use the cookbook pragmaticallyAs checklist and themes to improveexisting practices, rather than as linearstep by step guide2. Strive for continuous improvement in EAfunction and promote (double loop)learning among EA professionals3. Let’s not make too much fuzz aboutenterprise architecture (esp. in terms ofwhy, what, and how)Just do it!
  23. 23. Conclusions and OutlookThe cookbook guides organizations and its enterprise architectsby defining a series of EA activities, and associated best practicesTo improve the state of the practice; EA more value-drivenTo counter the various EA anti-patterns observed from thetrenches“The value of EA depends on the influence it has, directly andindirectly, over executive decisions, actions, investments andoutcomes.” [C. Potts]The cookbook’s effectiveness in practice depends onExperience and skillset of the architectMaturity of organization and EA function in particularThe definition, scope and sphere of influence of EA practicesThe cookbook is not a strict step-by-step guide, or a ‘silverbullet’, nor is it finishedContinuous fine-tuning takes place during architectureprojects, classroom discussions, literature review, discussionsat conferences, etc.24