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How to Pass a Enterprise Architecture Project Review

        posted by , April 17, 2011

A few tips for Project Managers (PMs) and Solution Architects (SAs) facing a project review by Enterprise Architecture.

1. Think Like a Enterprise Architect

Enterprise Architects (EAs) are big picture people. They are the city planners of IT — they want to make sure you are not trying to build your own roads and water pipes.

Take a honest look at your project from a enterprise perspective.

- Are you reinventing the wheel?
- Do your technology choices make sense for the organization?
- Are you duplicating data / functionality available elsewhere?
- Do your processes make sense in an enterprise context?

2. Have a Solution Architect

EA wants you to have an architect. If you don't have one — find one. If you can't find one — be one.

Someone needs to take responsibility for the project's architectural decisions.

3. Get Out of your Silo

EAs facilitate common solutions. That will ask if you have talked to the right people about your project.

Make sure you touch base with representatives from:

1. Upstream and downstream systems
2. Common services such as ESB, BPM etc..
3. Infrastructure

4. Align with Business

EAs are business aligned and may try to kill projects that come out of IT without sufficient business support.

Make sure that your business sponsors are solidly behind the project — even if it is a technology driven initiative.

5. Strategy or Tactical

Be clear — is your project strategic or tactical?

EA is not an audit — it is business-results-oriented. Enterprise architects understand that not all projects will have an ideal architecture. There are business pressures, time constraints and budget limitations.

If your solution is tactical — admit it!

6. Read the Enterprise Architecture

It is amazing how often solution architects are completely unaware of EA. Read the enterprise blueprints, standards and roadmap put forth by the EA team. Where possible align your solution with the EA.

EAs are accustomed to having to pull teeth to get anyone to read the EA. If you follow the EA without a struggle — the EAs will be elated.

7. Avoid Solution Pitfalls

There are a number of common solution architecture pitfalls to avoid. Some EAs will drill down into detailed solution design — others won't.

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