One of the essential roles of a Chief Enterprise Architect (CEA) is Stakeholder Management. Without a definitive CEA role, the responsibility for Stakeholder Management becomes muddied among the architecture team. As a result, the entire Enterprise Architecture (EA) practice will struggle at low maturity. I've seen EA teams where several architects all essentially have the same roles and responsibilities as Enterprise Architects. There is no distinction as to architecture domains and no one person is at the tip of the spear representing the EA practice. Inevitably, such setups will suffer severely from the inability to establish compelling, proactive communications about the purpose, methods, and activities of the EA team.

Ideally, an EA Team will have a clearly designated leader who is also the EA Ambassador and Evangelist for the team, the Squadron Commander of a team of capable architects, each one of whom could take on the role of "Pilot (Architect)-in-Command" for any given sortie/initiative, leading a team of internal and matrixed architects covering key architecture domains and specialized areas of expertise. However, the CEA role is often too weakly established, which greatly inhibits the essential communication that should be occurring between key stakeholders and the EA Team. Therefore, I strongly encourage that all EA practices have a definitive position for CEA and provide that position with the authority and communication linkages necessary for the EA Team to succeed with Stakeholder Management.

In brief, the path to architecting for optimum stakeholder engagement begins with the definition of the Chief Enterprise Architect role that includes the responsibility for and skills and tools to facilitate the kind of essential communication streams needed for agile and coherent EA across all EA-enabled initiatives. There are many EA Teams that have a CEA role but have not empowered that role to succeed at Stakeholder Management. It is time to address this shortfall that often cripples EA programs.

Authored by Dr. Steve Else, Chief Architect & Principal Instructor


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