Tuesday, December 23, 2008

No Excuse for not having Enterprise Architecture

If you are observing clearly in Enterprise IT shops, a new governance practice has gained significant ground over the last few years. And that is ‘Project Management Office’. The mission of the Project Management Office is to establish standard Project Management System of processes and Tools that ensures consistency in Project Management methods practiced across the organization. The key objective behind PMO office is to ensure sustained success in project execution by adhering to best practices.

The need for PMO must have arrived with the increase in the volumes of projects and top management needed new ways to manage the risks and ensure the predictability of those projects in terms of cost/schedule and resource parameters.

Now, take a look at this perspective. The PMO office, however small or large it may be, is a support function to the actual delivery. It performs Governance, Mentors, Audits, Tracks and Reports the Projects/Project Managers. It provides indirect benefits to the IT organization and not contributing to the project directly.

Now look at this, as mentioned in this blog, the value (of PMO) is not always measurable in the company’s financials. But the increase in predictability and control can be related to the bottom-line, with a proper governance structure and controls.

I also had a chat with PMO focal in my company. And He reconfirmed the fact that his office is often challenged / questioned to assert its value.

Now, If you are an architect, Does it sound like a déjà vu?. I see a strong similarity between the PMO functions/challenges with Enterprise Architecture office.

But, my observation is – the CIOs who are not sold on Enterprise Architecture Office and its value have invested significantly on PMO offices. Howz that possible? Do you see a interesting conflict here?

The fact is simple – Enterprise Architecture is not understood. Period.

If CIOs can unquestionably invest in PMO offices and depend on its services to ensure their success, why don’t they invest on EA office?. As a matter of fact, PMO’s value cannot be directly measured.

As my fellow architects, I did have suspicions on the EA practice and its value and read about various new thought processes EA 2.0, etc. But, Am completely convinced that EA can add significantly value to the IT organization irrespective of its position within the company (say cost centre, service centre, or strategic partner). Here, I refer EA as a IT management discipline (not necessarily business architecture)

In fact, as a starting point, for cost starved IT shops, EA elements can be included in the PMO office. Sounds like a Good Idea?

Now, Who has the responsibility to sell ‘Enterprise Architecture’ same way as PMO office?. Who else – We, the People – The Enterprise Architects.

1. We ourselves should be first convinced about EA and its value for the company
2. We should have the ability to communicate the value of EA to the CIO and Leadership in unambiguous terms with lot of conviction. A Lot!
3. We should Deliver Value and Live upto the promises!

The mission statement for EA Office can be as simple as - To enable the IT in implementing consistent, reliable, secure and useful IT solutions that are aligned (to strategic business goals), responsive (to changes in business/Technology) and cost-effective.

1 comment:

Kirk said...

Project management offices (typically called PO for Project Office) do not have the scope - they run projects, planning tasks and tracking activity for discrete projects, or, if run at the functional organization level, like IT, for coordinating IT.

Projects are like GL chart of account updates, or procure-to-pay. These fit in the realm of the project office, as well as the enterprise TECHNOLOGY architect. They do NOT fall directly under EA or Program office responsibility.

The real analogous position to EA is the PROGRAM management office (typically called the PMO). Programs are things like finance, or supply chain, or field operations. In the defense industry, a program is a fighter jet, or a tank development and production. They are made up of hundreds or thousands of projects, and dozens of functional organizations, just like the scope of the ENTERPRISE (not technology) architect.

The PROGRAM office has responsibility to plan resources (budget and staff) across functional boundaries, and in line with the overall corporate strategy, just as the enterprise architect has responsibility to coordinate business initiative content over the entire enterprise, in every functional organization, just as organizational design has responsibility for coordinating the cross-functional processes that make the business operate.