Enterprise Architecture Demystified

Sethuraj Nair’s Enterprise Architecture Thoughts

Enterprise Architecture : How Not To Miss Anything ? -Part II

Posted by snair007 on June 21, 2008

“Getting Meticulous About It…..”

EA and EA Projects – Federated Scoping

Sorry, I can’t help harping on (I tried, though) the great ‘problem of rendition’ in EA. Right from the definition through the details, there is enough room for ‘convenient interpretation’ of many terms and ideas we find in countless Enterprise Architecture standards, frameworks and guidelines. Granted – the end-to-end roadmaps like the ones offered by TOGAF ADM are jobs very well done, but confusion lingers on in some less cheerful corners of every framework. A good example would be the difference in approaches to EA and to what can be termed as EA projects.

Wait a minute – did I say EA project? What can be termed as an EA Project? Well – everything you actually do as a part of ‘conducting’ Enterprise Architecture (You heard it right – “Conducting Enterprise Architecture” are the exact words used in the definition of MODAF. Not Conducting EA project, nor Conducting EA Activity – just conducting EA. They say MODAF is a “standardized way of conducting Enterprise Architecture and…”). So an EA Project can be any activity with enough significance to alter the EA status-quo as much as much as  being any component activity of building up Enterprise Architecture or being one that is formally aligned with Enterprise Architecture governance mode,.

The last statement, however, adds an improper degree of flexibility and thus sets in motion the wheels of convenient interpretation.

Out of Governance = Out of Scope?

Can we really take into account something that is not governed by Architecture Board as a part of Enterprise Architecture? Practically – yes , because practically in all organizations, there could be activities significant enough to disturb the EA status-quo without getting adequately controlled by governing council. The process of ‘adoption’ to EA framework would only be done at a later stage as a separate activity in such cases – mostly due to pressing deadlines, cash-flow reasons or simply sheer holes in the framework.

That leads us to having a federated approach to the scoping activity too – no matter at which rung of evolution we are at in terms of EA Framework compliance. What it means to us is this: apart from having a firm traction on governed EA Activities, there is a need for considering all substantial undertakings with definite inputs and outputs happening within the enterprise to be an EA Project; the substantiality can ideally be evaluated by governing body with minimal upfront involvement.

An EA Project can thus have a management and control outside Architecture Board. As shown in the graphic, Adoption and integration of the project to EA Framework are controlled by a pre-defined adoption strategy.

EA and EA Projects

 

But how are all these important in defining scope? They are very important, as, for one, we just saw that a project can be conceived, planned, scoped, executed and managed independently and can still be considered as an EA effort. Setting up right boundaries for such an isolated effort would be the key to all right things to follow.

 

The long and short of it: Reductionism in Scoping

Think of a sprint event. Which one would you pick as of more consequence- the distance to be covered in the race or each step that is to take you till the finishing line? Like most of you, I too would say : both. Every step is as much important as the distance to be covered. Though done inadvertently and being mastered by practice, every breath taken in, every muscle movement and every hop has its role in deciding the winner.

No holistic framework can be sound enough when it is frail in parts. Assembly may be fantastic but a week link in the chain can spoil the show, and that is where the importance of federation lies. In both the phases of scoping and planning an EA Project, the architect (an individual or a body) should be conscious of the Enterprise Significance of its outcome.

This gives a whole new importance to the scoping activity. Here we are not only concerned with scoping of the implementation of EA as a framework, but also of individual project scope in context with EA. So, the scope of the project should be defined as the scope of the business, application and technology areas of the enterprise as a whole that will be impacted by the project as well as those that constitute the project in isolation. This activity can prove to be providing great inputs to planning phase.

 

There are more to “TOGAF dimensions”

Back to the question of ‘meta’ scoping. What should we expect out of scoping exercise? TOGAF talks about 4 different dimensions ( details to be captured/ defined as a part of scoping exercise) : Scope of the Enterprise, Scope of Domains, Scope of Details, Scope of Time (not in the exact words used by The Open Group- refer TOGAF 8.1 for details ).

But are they enough?

Most of us who have ever even tried our hands on an Enterprise-Wide projects would not probably defer when I venture to say they are not all. There are some 4 more dimensions that I can think of:

Scope of Inputs:  A finite line should be drawn to mark the boundaries of information (required + available) concerning the effort. Identifying how much information would be open and/or available as inputs to the architecture effort is vital for successful execution of an EA Project . There can be numerous constraints for the Architecture Body in gathering information related to the project – like security, availability, time considerations and accessibility. On top of it, this effort should address the need of distinguish between available information and required information.

Scope of Compliance: Many Enterprise Architecture efforts are “cross-standard”. For example, while the actual development process of the architecture is being carried out in alignment with TOGAF, the security aspects of the enterprise may need to comply with SOX even as the implementation is to be carried out in an environment that follows ITIL-way of functioning. A ‘matrix of accord’ needs to be in place at the scoping phase of the project in order to meet the standards set by a multitude of standards that may or may not have requirements at variance with one another ( there should not be any, ideally).  

Scope of Usage: This is a highly overlooked factor, especially in Federated Architecture environments. As I mentioned in the previous part of my Thoughts, the effort here is to systematically capture answers to the questions like who is going to take up the architecture from the point where you leave, what will they be doing with the deliverable and whether it is development-facing or the business-facing or both.

Scope of Approval: Not everything is to be approved by everybody. Review and approval of the Enterprise Business Model should be limited to the business reps, whereas Application and Technology Models should follow a different/other review stream. I don’t very much buy in to the idea that this should be a part of defining roles and responsibilities (under planning) and not scoping, for this activity is more to do with defining boundaries of ‘jurisdiction’ rather than assigning work.

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One Response to “Enterprise Architecture : How Not To Miss Anything ? -Part II”

  1. Carnival of Enterprise Architecture #10 – July 1, 2008…

    Welcome to the July 1, 2008 edition of Carnival of Enterprise Architecture (Issue #10). Business Process Management Stephan Grindley presents Enterprise Asset Management Software – a Great Way to Manage posted at Asset Management Articles. Bozidar Spir…

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