The Program Manager is no Enterprise Architect

Wednesday, November 8, 2017 | Likes: 0 | Comments: 0

Adrian Grigoriu

Executive Consultant


The Program Manager is no Enterprise Architect

It is said that Enterprise Architecture is a tool for transformation. Yet, transformations did happen without the enterprise architecture in place until now. It is true though in the sense that, without an EA, a transformation is blind. It does not see the objects around and in its path. Thus, it bumps into them or fails to see them. EA adds structure to the transformation. It enables a thorough scoping, better decision making, a reliable work breakdown...

The Enterprise Architect is in charge of EA discovery, structuring, documentation, and design.

The Project Manager is responsible for planning, monitoring, and reporting a subsequent transformation. An Enterprise Architecture supports the transformation and as such the Project Manager.

The architect structures the description of the enterprise, establishes principles for change and evolution, standards for technologies, the roadmap... with the final aim to enable change, decision making, and manage, if not reduce, the unnecessary and costly complexity and variation in the enterprise.

The PM, having been given the architecture, dependencies, roadmap, risks, work breakdown, skills and resources necessary and deliverables and acceptance criteria has to come up with a project plan and iterate it until the schedule, resources, and costs are all coming together. The PM has then to monitor and report progress, bottlenecks, risks eventuation, and organize meetings.

Yet, often enough the Head of EA position is occupied by a Project Manager, IT at that. This seems to be a premise for failure. It is hard to imagine the EA succeed when the enterprise and business architects, having to report to the Project Manager type, must hold his hand and teach the PM the job, so that, in return, the PM can manage them and their work. It is the manager who has to coach rather than the other way around. How would a PM be able to coach an EA team, as a manager would do, or make decisions related to EA structure and content?

The PM should be the administrative secretary of the& project team to facilitate the work of the professionals rather than tell the EAs what to do and how they should break down the work.

The PM has to administer a transformation while the EA architect has to develop the EA. No PM can manage an EA effort. An EA can manage a project or transformation if required.

Strategy, Program Management, and Enterprise Architecture were represented in the past as circles intersecting in the middle. The strategy drew the direction of evolution, the transformation implemented the strategy as a project portfolio and the EA dictated the structure of the enterprise transformation while setting standards and principles for change.

But top management prefers PMs in the lead because they have good communication skills. That may be so because PMs are usually rounded individuals. Yet they do not master the profession or are able to innovate ... They are not the visionaries that create the difference, the value. They are no leaders because they have no vision.

Yet, if the EA/BA head positions are now occupied by Project Managers, who is going to lead the enterprise toward the Digital future? PMs won't be able to recognize the opportunities, integrate them into one whole, or establish the vision. The EAs would not bother to establish the vision for somebody else to exploit the fruit and success of their work.

But today, under the EA umbrella, take place many common IT activities bar the development of a coherent, consistent, and integrated enterprise blueprint.

Hence, it does not matter if an Enterprise Architect leads the effort. The EA title has been hijacked. Equally so, the title of Business Architect has been taken over by Business Analysts.