Much pushback from Enterprise Architecture (EA) over the past 15 years or so is that it is too much overhead and not practical enough. For example, let’s take the current Coronavirus Pandemic. A legacy approach, often still used predominantly, would involve setting up an EA Capability over a period of approximately 2 years, especially if re-skilling internal Solution Architects. Even hiring prestigious consulting firms to accelerate things and leverage their experience would routinely still lead to a timeframe of about 18 months in large organizations before any value could be expected to be delivered. Of course, given the current, urgent need for what I call “Mastery of the Architecture Symphony/Landscape”, it is essential for someone to “conduct the orchestra/team of diverse architects” for dramatically more rapid and demonstrable, measurable insights.
EA, if mature, can offer indispensable impact and “what if?” analyses, as well as better informed analysis of alternatives from multiple perspectives for use in practical problem solving. Of course we need EA to do just that now…in a big way. However, its legacy of not delivering clear value in a timely way works against senior business, government, and academic leadership requiring resources for it. We are living in an era where great agility is demanded and a DevOps type of architecture thinking increasingly prevails. What this means for EA is that it must more rapidly contribute to much stronger, dynamic, and cross-program and cross-domain visioning, requirements gathering, and an informed identification of implementation choices, as well as their sequencing -- including concurrent rollout.
I strongly believe that a “high dose” of a TOGAF ADM injection could help tremendously, even with something as dramatic and challenging as the Coronavirus Pandemic. One would need to understand and rapidly apply the ADM to develop SMART Visions (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Time-Bound/Boxed) and link it to the Agile Methodology in the sense of integrated communication to rapidly facilitate communication regarding targeted engineering developments. The ADM brings the importance of Visioning, Cross-Domain Requirements Management, and highly informed consideration of ways to meet the evolving requirements, whether in the design or implementation phases, with innovative approaches to accelerate to demonstrable value and to capture and share lessons learned as Architecture Patterns.
The approaches and lessons learned must include in the areas of Performance Management, Value Realization, and Capability-Based Planning, and be made more compelling and reusable through Architecture Modeling. The combination of method and modeling is extremely powerful. I can see how outstanding architects could contribute in amazing ways, if given the chance, and armed with expedited trips through an ADM-style approach enabled by world-class process (BPMN) and decision modeling (DMN) combined with capability modeling (ArchiMate). Therefore, I am proposing expedited training in these areas for all architects and analysts with the Coronavirus Pandemic being the source for real-world use cases. This can all be done online in about 10 days total spread out over a month and over weekends, whatever it takes, but such knowledge and associated skillsets will prove their value immediately, including concurrent with the training.
by Dr. Steve Else, Chief Architect & Principal Instructor