Streamline TOGAF with Enterprise Modeling

3 12 2011

Ever try to find the most current architecture model or documentation in your organization?

In the majority of organizations I’ve been in it has always been a challenge.

My modeling experience:

      1. 1997-1998 Modeled in Oracle Designer 2000 which at that time had pretty good modeling capabilities. However, was not a priority to the business to sponsor and lost traction.

 

      2. 1998-2007 Visio was the accepted tool of choice, probably since the tool is very intuitive, file based, and seemed easy to search… 🙂

 

    3. 2007-current Enterprise modeling tools have been my choice of tools lately, with the exception of some engagements where Visio still is.


Some Key Enterprise Modeling Functionality

      1. Allows you to centrally store and version your models.

 

      2. Each object (i.e. process, function, system, interface, data, infrastructure) has characteristics attached to further describe the object.

 

      3. The objects store metadata of what they are and do.

 

      4. Well defined drawings (views in TOGAF) define relationships between the different objects which allow for the generation of TOGAF core matrices and catalogues

 

      5. All objects are reusable including all the characteristics, descriptions/documentation, and relationships. (i.e. If you copy an object for your drawing, all other relationships are retained)

 

    6. For each model, documentation can be automatically produced defining all the components of the drawing

For more information on EA modeling tools check out this site.


What is the Value Proposition?

    1. Promotes an “Single Source of Truth” or the authoritative source for models and object definitions resulting in efficiencies in:

  • Streamlining business processes
  • Time saved searching for most current documentation

Value: Consultants $$$$, architects $$$, project staff $$, support staff $

    2. Accelerates modeling and documentation for projects since:

  • Models are centrally stored in the authoritative source.
  • Accelerates models as core matrix and catalogue deliverables are automatically generated.
  • Documentation can be partially automated as each object has the textual documentation associated to itself.

Value: Consultants $$$$, architects $$$, project staff $$, support staff $

    3. Allows for impact analysis to reduce risk in organization changes.

Value: Risk $$$$+


Challenges

      1. Getting buy in from the executive to embrace the opportunity

 

      2. Keeping the information up to date and populating the enterprise modeling repository

 

      3. Managing change to deliver the information to the business and training

 

    4. Governance service to manage the submission of new and updated models




Book Review: Zoom Factor for the Enterprise Architect

18 02 2011

Key Learning’s from Sharon Evans Book, Zoom Factor for the Enterprise Architect

Zoom Factor – Executive Summary

Just read a great EA book (a couple of times) by Sharon Evans called Zoom Factor giving her perspective on developing a high performing Enterprise Architect and the EA practice. It was one of those books you don’t have to force yourself to read. Sharon has given order to developing Enterprise Architecture skills through her experiences. Something which could be very chaotic if you did not have the appropriate guidance and/or mentoring. She does not attempt to solve every problem in this book. Instead, she simply presents alternatives and recommendations to develop an EA practice and career referencing numerous methodologies, frameworks, approaches, processes, and models, for the reader to research on their own – A great approach. The content is overwhelming and having to summarize each section has been a challenge. Depending on your EA experience you will get really good nuggets from the book or it will be completely transformational.

Section I Summary (Your Foundation)

In this section I could really relate with Sharons’ perspective and the importance to understand the basic skills required for Enterprise Architecture – The Five Steps to EA Excellence. The concept is growing basic architecture skills as you work your way up the ranks, through various opportunities and positions reaching different milestones in your career. I think back at my experience where it was difficult to plan a career as an Enterprise Architect since the role did not exist. That is not the case today and one can be intentional about “Growing up to be an EA”. Sharon articulates the basic skills and traits to develop oneself as an Architect as well as taking what is known or learned from previous experiences and applying it forward into the EA role in general – a simple yet effective approach. Finally she dedicates time to focus on the problem analysis process to effectively land on a best solution.  A skill every architect requires.

Section II Summary (Success through Process)

I call this section the meat and potatoes section. Here you will find a ton of content and reference material to consume which is sure to generate many thought provoking ideas. The section encompasses the architecture process, creating and presenting models, abstract and conceptual thinking, frameworks and creating blueprints and roadmaps.

She starts off emphasizing the need to be a slide maker and a white board drawer, being able to draw and present architectures to various audiences – From the Shop Floor to the Top Floor (executives). Using these skills effectively to communicate the architecture and aiding in the decision making process. Step out of your comfort zone to continuously develop these presentation skills, being able to take complex architectures and make them simple, easy for others to understand. Years ago, one of my bosses actually put a line item in my performance review to formally present 7 times per year to motivate my development. Set stretch goals and aim to achieve them as experience only comes with practice.

The 5 most common architecture processes and approaches are described in detail. Then she finally cuts to the chase and suggests embracing the core elements of the Zachmann and TOGAF frameworks to get started, and concludes how to move forward using a Basic Architecture Process and Principles. I am partial with her approach which knowledge and experience dictates to obtain fast results (Zoom In). The practice will always evolve going forward, but it is always important to show initial value. Later there is an entire chapter concentrated on the different frameworks specifically, and how to choose the right one for your organization.

What is architecture without developing models? Sharon compares models to artwork which is integral in describing problems and providing simple yet effective communication. Answering questions like Why, When, What, How much, and model structure is as well as “giving it that engineering style” to make the models robust. As in many other different architecture related approaches, books, and frameworks, the models are described. It would be awesome to have an example of all the required core models that need to be embraced. Wish I had this book to help several years ago; it would have streamlined the “School of Hard Knocks” approach we embraced. Also, check out the Zoom In and Zoom Out sections at the end of the chapter to find checklists on the bare minimum models list, and models to avoid respectively.

Having the ability to think abstractive and conceptually while in the weeds (detail) is a critical EA competence which Sharon calls the Zoooooom Factor. She explains the need to have the ability to focus on a specific architecture/problem, while considering the conceptual perspective. Architects need to have the ability to be able to identify the different types of patterns emerging from the architecture, solutions in the parts and as the whole, different views, its relation to change, the benefits, and challenges that might be encountered. In closing she gives some great tips and techniques to deliberately strengthen your skills. Some sound advice to help all architects be more effective.

Do you know the difference between blueprinting and a roadmap? If not Sharon brings clarity to what might be a little confusing to some. Covering the different types of planning architects are engaged in and depending on your current role will determine which one you will develop or participate in. There is an overview of each of the architecture deliverables, the different types, their scope, purpose, and benefits to aid the growing solution and enterprise architects. This is a great primer giving all a lot to consider.

Section III Summary (Soft Skills)

OK now it’s all about you, the EA and your soft skills. What sort of soft skills are important to develop as an enterprise architect? You find many of the answers outlined in this section? The following diagram effectively outlines the skills developed from starting as a domain architect to that of the enterprise/chief architect role.

The illustration and comparisons of the different types of architects are explained including the domain, project, and enterprise architects to help assess where you are in the EA journey. This helps outline gaps in soft skills we need to develop. Leading, politics, and consulting skills get their own chapter in this section to provide the detail required to help EA’s build their competencies. I’ll be the first to say there is some valuable content and a lot good reading in these chapters, even with my leadership and strategic planning experience. As for politics, can one ever learn enough?

Leading: Gain some great tips and ideas to consider when leading and mentoring your EA team. Sharon shares what to consider about to communicating your vision, preparing your executive communication pitch, and the many barriers EAs will face. (Use Cases Included).

Politics: Developing the skill to manage politics through influence, being resilient to criticism, building and nurturing internal and external relationships. But it doesn’t stop there, because in the “Zoom Out” there are some great political scenarios to avoid. Great stuff!

Consulting: Covers all the characteristics a good consultant needs to have to act as trusted advisor, facilitator, and overall great communicator. She breaks down each one of these topics to discuss the traits for each role and key advice on how to use them from an EA perspective. Towards the end the deliverables (Specifications, Reviews, Impact Analysis, EA Planning, Decision making, and the Toolkit) of the EA are described with advice on communicating the deliverables and abstracting the message to executive and upper level management.

As architects we all want to make diligent decisions and for those who have been there, done that, we know how difficult it is to make enterprise perspective decisions. Outlined are the aspects of making a great decision including some industry techniques, politics, prioritization, risks, trade-offs, instinct, and things to avoid. Following up on the decision making process are some tips on documenting the results and developing a good whiteboard scenario.

Section IV Summary (Vision & Big Picture Thinking)

I definitely enjoyed this read, in detail, of what it takes to have EA vision and Big Picture thinking. Embracing the importance of humility and collaborative natures to compile and understand other perspectives – how to put yourself in others’ shoes, both internally and externally. The need to understand the Business, Portfolio Management, and IT Architecture perspectives, while keeping your eye on the value EA brings to the table, and the risk associated for each of these perspectives. Being Enterprise Architects, it reveals how much architecture is not about us and our careers, but the ability to listen to others, the different perspectives, the aspect of governance, and doing what is right. Sharon concludes by providing a balance of foresight and questions to understand the other perspectives. Giving advice of where to look for gaps in business or system capabilities to drive efficiencies and innovation.

Are you a big picture thinker, or wanna be? Are you super busy all the time? Do you take time to reflect and organize your thoughts to develop collaborative perspectives into a supported vision and target state? Choosing to take time to analyze the whole landscape, evaluating and prioritizing stakeholder goals, missions, values, and concerns as a shareholder advocate is key. Always put the business before technology when developing the vision is Sharon’s message. Also of importance is that the EA is the change agent to communicate a passionate, compelling vision to build management commitment and support for the architecture, financial, and moral realizations. Additionally there is good advice on developing skills to prioritize your priorities, identifying value in opportunities, and driving value through innovation. Learn how to right size and align your architecture from the big picture perspective to ensure the vision is being realized through the portfolios, projects and architecture.

In probably the largest chapter learn what it takes to build an EA dream team incorporating great advice and questions to find the talent you need, team structure alternatives, motivating and mentoring the team, planning the workload, and generating high performance to continuously grow your teams EA and leadership skills. I have definitely not given this chapter the justice it deserves, so you’re just going to have to trust me when I say this chapter every EA needs to read.

Section V Summary (Achieving Architecture Altitude)

As architects we all desire to attain the goal of developing strategic plans which are aligned and supported between IT and the business. Your role as an Enterprise Architecture is to continuously develop the knowledge to assemble strategies, understand the business strategies and how they drive the enterprise architecture strategy, and value-centered thinking.

Need a strategic planning 101? You’ll find the most elementary steps in strategic planning from the business, IT, and enterprise architecture perspectives, their basic components and how they overlap. What to do if you can’t find a documented business strategy (That never happens), tools to help perform your analysis, assessment, and how to develop your Enterprise Architecture Strategy.

To be the business-savvy architect who is genuinely interested in creating value for your organization, is a statement I truly believe is a key success factor in developing your role as an EA. Sharon shares advice to build your entrepreneurial spirit to be sensitive to current business issues, market forces, leading change, and overcoming the fear in failing. And as read on you’ll see how quality and your integrity count in building your career.

Most architects I have chatted with always ask the question “How do I measure the value and maturity of EA?” Well, you’re in luck, because Sharon shares 10-15 pages on measuring EA, the returns, and methods to communicate the results to your stakeholders. This includes initiating governance committees, roles and responsibilities, and how to run effective governance groups. This will ultimately aid in setting priorities and doing what is right.

Finally, Sharon describes the role the EA has as the mechanism for change. Understanding the seven levels of change, how change works, and how to get others to embrace change a little easier. How controlling change can only occur when you know what you have, what you need, when you’ll need it, and who will implement and manage it. This is explained in some depth and provides advice to consider in mitigating the fear in change.

Zoom Factor Closing Review

Overall this book is definitely worth the read for all those currently in the midst of architecture no matter your level of experience. For those of you who are just starting out a career as an Enterprise Architect, this book will be a key reference guide for you going forward along with your relationships other EA’s, forums and groups. Even if you already are a high performing EA, certain statements and chapters will leave an impression on you. They will prompt you to continuously incorporate them into your career so that you can be all that you can be.

Kindle Version of Zoom Factor: http://amzn.to/eosoYw


Best Regards,

Darin Paton

Cornerstone Consulting Inc.

Http://www.linkedin.com/in/dpaton

E: dpaton@cornerstone-ea.com

W: http://www.cornerstone-ea.com

M: +1 403.472.7744





Part II – 3 More Tips to Develop Your EA Career

27 09 2010

In my last Blog we talked about some of the things to do if you are just starting your career. What if you have “Been there done that” and are still not where you desire to be from an architecture perspective.

I sat down today with a team of developers, a data modeller, business analysts, governance specialist, project manager, and an EIM architect and it gave me even a better perspective of what an Enterprise Architect needs to be capable of…

1. Presentation skills – This has probably been my best skill that one manager coached me perform. She actually asked me to start by presenting 5 presentations in one year on various topics. Each quarter she followed up to see how I was doing, and after a year I had 7 presentations under my belt. Give yourself a similar goal and do it each year adding more and more presentations to the goal. In 3-5 years your will end up being a very competent and effective speaker helping to develop your leadership skills.

2. Always Offer – The best people I have worked for always ask “Is there anything I can do to help?”. You will always know those who require help and when you help them, it will stretch you, but will also broaden your skills and understanding. He who helps one’s neighbor helps one’s self.- Seneca

3. Objective Facilitation Skills – As an Enterprise Architect you are expected to look from the outside in. This means landing on a collaborative decision which is a governed by what’s best for the organization. A simple program specific example might be a data modeler having goals in developing a strategic data model, the developers wanting to focus on what they need, the governance specialist is looking to develop internal governance, the project manager focused on budget, quality, and time, the business analysts want the business to support their need for requirements, and the EIM architect wants a robust EIM architecture while trying to influence future strategies. There are a lot of tactical and strategic goals all wrapped up in this single example. The ability to objectively facilitate meetings to land on practical goals takes a few years to become effective in doing, however work on it informally with a few until you get better and better at it. Always keep others and the organization in mind. What would you do if it were your business. Next thing you know you will be facilitating executives.

4. Bonus Tip: Go Talk to People – The majority of people love to share their knowledge or give advice. 10 years back, my boss said “Go and ask the CEO.” My reply was “Are you out of your mind?”. He said “You need his perspective and if he doesn’t have time, then no worries, what do you have to lose?” So I invited him to a 1:1 meeting and he accepted and the result was completely encouraging and changed my perspective in speaking to executives. They’re just people.

You might notice that these tips are purely soft skills and not technical nor business related. That is because anyone can learn and teach themselves the technical and business skills, however not many can develop the required soft skills to converse with executives, facilitate meetings (business and technical), while speaking to an infrastructure specialist or developer in his technical language.

I have a ton of tips which I will continue to share.

More questions? Send me a note or give me a call.





The Path of Least Resistance

31 01 2010

…to a high quick-to-value EA Practice.

This past week I attended a local PMI dinner meeting where a friend of mine was speaking on the evolution of Project Management, Business Architecture, and Service Management in the IT Organization. Listening to his presentation which was very well articulated, seemed to be amazingly aligned to pet project over the past couple of weeks.

The internal project is to develop a new strategic vision of what the end result of the enterprise architecture process and outputs might look like. In doing so, the process has been to consider what other frameworks and body of knowledge(BOK) might add to the process and artifacts, which include frameworks like TOGAF, Zachman, PEAF, ITIL and body of knowledge like PMBOK, BABOK, and EABOK. By being open minded and embracing different EA Frameworks, standards, and certifications can produce a high quick-to-value EA practice based on a path of least resistance.

For instance, consider the TOGAF Framework phases A (Architecture Vision) and B (Business Architecture). These could easily embrace the BABOK approaches and outputs from business strategy and architecture reports, market studies, organizational structures, goals, functions, product lines, feasibility studies, impact and risk analysis, business cases, and project scope just to name a few. Many Business Analysts, are now seeking certification as Business Analysts from organizations such as the International Institute of Business Analysis.

Another example are the TOGAF phases B (Business Architecture), E (Opportunities and solutions), F (Migration Planning), G (Implementation Governance) which might embrace the PMBOK since many of these include developing business strategies, business cases, project scope, implementation/migration strategies and schedules, as well as implementation schedules. Now in many cases Project Managers might end up being the business analysts/architects but in any case they have been performng these services for quite some time.

Finally TOGAF phases A-G could include the ITIL service management framework which many people are seeking certification in and is a very hot skill and practice. Understanding the importance of business processes and how they might impact business results, or how technology might impact business processes and results is all contained within service management. How information, applications, and technology solution options are architected also impact the organizations service management and applicable business cases. Including these as part of an organizations delivery teams is key to maximizing an organizations return while minimizing risk in business process services.

There are many options to introducing EA to your organization. It might be starting to understand what skills your organization already has, embrace and integrate into those skills and resources. Imagine using certified business analysts or supporting another manager in certifying his business analysts, consider the same for project managers and service management professionals. By embracing an EA framework(s) and understanding your organizations current state  may result  in an easier method to get a high value added EA practice up and going.

Darin Paton been a member of a structured enterprise architecture(EA) team since 1998-2007 and as a consultant in many Western Canadian organizations observing different maturity levels. Darin has lead Enterprise Architecture teams, provided implementation and operational leadership, and has delivered high-value business margins and IT cost savings throughout his IT career.

Best Regards,

Darin Paton

Cornerstone Consulting Inc.

Specializing in EA, Strategic IT, & Enabling Technologies

M: +1 403.472.7744

E: dpaton








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