Monday, June 14, 2010

Enterprise Architecture (EA) team's role in Solution Delivery

Hello Fellow Architects - I am writing this blog in response to Todd Biske's blog entry on the fact that Enterprise Architecture Must Assist in Delivery.  I am in complete agreement with Todd on this aspect of EA's role in the enterprise.  Participating in delivery of business solutions is a value add that cannot be discounted. Not only does it add to the credibility to EA but it allows EA to be viewed as an ally which makes it easy for it to stay in touch with the "goings-on" in the enterprise.  This partnership and visibility is key to start identifying cross-domain synergies and cross-business process impacts across all the granular projects.

As the leader of EA I have tried to instill this behavior in my team.  My team is now seen as a much more "useful" partner by delivery and not just as a "watch-dog".  Some of this perception change was a result of EA working with delivery in coming up with practical multi-step solutions/ alternatives to EA standards compliance. We reached out to the delivery teams that were under a severe time crunch to come up with Remedial Action plans that incorporated tolerable architecture compromises that would not jeopardize the stability and flexibility of the solution while still delivering business value (on-time!!).  Putting such intermediate architecture solutions in place with hooks for building upon these architecture constructs increased buy-in from both application delivery teams and their business partners.  The result the business partners got to test a more robust solution and were willing to give the project team adequate time in the next phase.  In addition, we were "invited" to review plans for the next phase where we could inspect the program plans that included time to work on the agreed upon architecture compliance roadmap. I have to admit that EA did go down to a much more technical design level for helping with the integration and infrastructure to be able to communicate our architecture roadmap and recommendations. 

EA achieved not just inclusion in the process but also this forced our architects to stay in touch with reality.  This education for our Enterprise Architects allowed us to understand both limitations and constraints of the enterprise and also the technology.  Learnings from this experience were then taken into consideration in refining the technical reference implementation for the EA strategy. Finally, this education has enabled EA to be a more formidable team that was able to bring this knowledge to evaluate vendor "marketecture" thus keeping irrelevant products out of the enterprise.


Your feedback is invaluable.

Thanks.

Surekha,
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