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The Virtuous Cycle Of Enterprise Architecture

        posted by , June 21, 2011

The value of an idea lies in the using of it.
~ Thomas A. Edison

The biggest danger Enterprise Architects face is being perceived as idea people who don't produce anything of business value. Anyone can throw around lofty ideas — Enterprise Architecture needs to be applicable.

The Virtuous EA Cycle

Ever notice when things are going right — everything seems to fall into place? That's exactly how Enterprise Architecture is — get your approach right and EA is a cakewalk.

virtuous cycle of enterprise architecture

simple, focused and pragmatic mission

Enterprise Architecture is a complex profession that encompasses business, application, data and technology architecture. Enterprise Architects often commit to delivering too much — before their practice is mature enough to deliver.

Another common pitfall is to bend to political pressures to focus on tactical projects. Such demands often come from high places and are difficult to reject. This can throw the entire EA program into a vicious EA cycle — it is important to say no.

A third common pitfall is to engage in academic exercises — offering up information that is difficult to translate into action.

The mission of your EA practice should be easy to achieve. Enterprise Architecture is no place for stretch targets. Focus on collecting simple information that drives IT transparency and business alignment.

quality deliverables that solve business problems

Successful EA programs deliver quality heatmaps, metrics, observations and analysis that have immediate and significant business impact. EA should deliver small and often — focusing much energy on communication. Each delivery cycle should drive continual improvement.

relevance and stakeholder satisfaction

When EA delivers quality information that enables IT transformation — relevance and stakeholder satisfaction soon follows.

increased support

Strike while support is hot — request more access to information and executives, greater mandates and budget. Be careful with EA headcount — keep the team lean and ensure that job satisfaction is high.

enhanced EA capabilities

Focus increased mandate, budget and cooperation on rolling out new EA capabilities. Establish a conservative EA capabilities roadmap.

increased EA maturity

Model your EA team's maturity. As new capabilities are rolled out the mission statement can be revisited.

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