Enterprise Architecture Framework - for Projects

Wednesday, April 1, 2015 | Likes: 0 | Comments: 0

Mark Paauwe

Sales Director

Dragon1 Inc

Enterprise Architecture Framework - for Projects

The Difference one simple Framework Diagram makes!

Most of us enterprise architects, have heard of the term 'Enterprise Architecture Framework', and know the benefits it gives.

first aid kit

But do we have ever created one and is that one used in our organization? It is only a simple diagram that is easy to create, providing stakeholders with much control. Well, the answer often is: no!

In this blog, I will show you a Dragon1 open EA Method example of an Enterprise Architecture Framework diagram that is used in practice. I will tell you why I always start creating a diagram like this. I will argue why you did not create it up till now. I will finish with some initial steps to get you going in creating your architecture framework diagram. Happy readings I'd say!

Just an example of what you might be creating tomorrow!

Take a look at the following diagram:

That does not look too complicated, does it? It is just one A4-sized page diagram that shows the architectures that are present in the organization. Above that, the first diagram of this blog, shows a management report on top of it, telling with colors the current status and quality of working with architecture in the organization: what architecture products for what architectures are available or not, and whether are they performing well.

The definition from the Dragon1 open EA method about the enterprise architecture framework diagram tells us that the diagram presented here is a skeleton, a schema of which architectures are recognized in the current or future situation of the organization, and what the important parts of the architectures are. For instance, business models and IT Architecture Principles.

Enterprise Architecture Framework also has the meaning of 'Method' like the TOGAF Definition for Enterprise Architecture Framework. But for that 'method' also an Enterprise Architecture Framework diagram can be created. This blog further zooms in on Enterprise Architecture Framework as a schema for the current and future architectures in an organization.

The example diagram in this blog is an anonymized management report view used in an automotive organization. It gives progress and status information on what parts are present and how well they do their job. All this in just one static A4-sized picture.

How you can have a big surprise for your stakeholders

What if you would not only have a static version of the Enterprise Architecture Framework but also an interactive version? This means that with a mouseover on an item of the diagram, you get a popup with background information on that item (like plans, docs, and detailed diagrams) and you can go to that background information just by clicking on it.

Wouldn't that be great?

And to go just a little bit further: What if every chief, steering committee member, or project manager in the organization could click on a list with projects to get his view of the architecture framework for that project? That would mean you give steering controls to the hands of management to keep the projects on the road and track. Real-time!


Are you in the mood to create an Architecture Framework Diagram yourself?

Here's the link to the Demo:
How To Generate An Enterprise Architecture Framework Diagram

Learning by example and inspiration

So why do you not have already created an Enterprise Architecture Framework diagram like this, static and or interactive? The answer to that question is pretty simple: you were busy doing your work as a fireman: solving problems ad hoc. And that left you no time to think about how to do things better or in another way. Your stakeholders were not complaining, they were not missing anything.

Here on Dragon1 there is a service desk available for you as a user to support with any question on enterprise architecture and creating enterprise architecture products.

So here’s your chance to be proactive!

Years ago, just like you, I did not yet create Enterprise Architecture Framework diagrams. Where did I get my inspiration? Just by looking at other fields of work, how people reported to stakeholders and have them make decisions supported by report views/diagrams.

This inspiration brought me to develop this Enterprise Architecture Framework diagram and via a change request make it part of the Dragon1 open EA Method.

Why I always create this Enterprise Architecture Framework diagram

Reason 1

People just love having colored overviews, especially in complex environments where a lot of people have lost overview or when there is no common view of the context. Enterprise architecture just asks for framework diagrams to give people control.

Reason 2

Overviews have the benefit of enabling priorities when making strategic management decisions. That is the most important reason to create an Enterprise Architecture Framework diagram: to have stakeholders make correct decisions or have them make decisions at all. The second important reason is that an overview lowers the stress level of stakeholders.

Reason 3

If you don’t know what things look like or do not have an overview, people tend to get stressed, and for one, they are not ready to make drastic decisions, because they don’t know if it is good, or bad or the right decision to take it now.

So this is basically why I always create an Enterprise Architecture Framework diagram for stakeholders.

Supporting Project Managers towards a Successful Project

>> Make them a conceptual solution design
(=architecture design)

As an enterprise architect, you are the designer of total concepts for the enterprise structure (like a building architect for building structures). When you and other architects have created a solution architecture or another architecture for a project, it is a conceptual design of the solution that the project is realizing.

>> Project the architecture design onto
the solution design

Because the architecture may not have been created by the project itself or in an assignment by the same stakeholders, owner/clients, the resulting architecture may contain solutions based on conflicting interests and requirements. A Security Officer or Chief Information Officer may, for instance, have put a ‘no open-source’ principle in the Security Architecture or ‘single source of truth’ principle Information Architecture that conflicts with the ‘Bring your own mobile device’ Application Architecture of the project's solution.

>> Report and Recommend changes, measures and
actions because of conflicts

In this case, an enterprise architect can help the project manager a great deal by using the Enterprise Architecture Framework diagram to show where things align and do not align. During a project, requirements shift and the world keeps on changing, an enterprise architect can help the project manager every day of the project to do this alignment. Not just before or at the start of the project. Because the ‘fun’ of change only starts when a project is well on its way! And then the diagram is used weekly for reporting and is of high value for visual risk management and control.

Everyone knows that time is always running fast. That means many projects are started up even when important things are not in place yet. Not always this leads to problems but sometimes it might. The Enterprise Architecture Framework diagram reports quickly to chiefs and managers what architecture parts are in place and are not in place and what impact it has on the project.

I am just scratching the surface here: An Enterprise Architecture Framework diagram is a very handy tool for a project manager, but he needs an enterprise architect to know of its existence and to create it for him. First, you crawl, then you walk before you can fly!

And here's the CHECKLIST with initial steps

Now is the time in this blog for a short checklist from the Dragon1 open EA Method guiding your first steps in creating an architecture framework diagram:

  • What architectures are currently or in the future recognized in the organization and who is the owner of this architecture? Where can I find the information I need?

  • What standards (frameworks/methods) do we use for working with architecture? What do we as an organization consider to be the important parts of an architecture? Do we follow a standard or do we have our vision of working with architecture?

  • How do strategy, requirements, architecture, and project relate? Can I draw a model of that?

  • If ownership, architects, architecture principles, concepts, models, rules,…etc. are the important parts, where can I find information about it? What is the source of information for these parts, and what is the status and who is the owner? What important parts of the architecture are currently present, available to use, or planned?

  • Is there a glossary of terms in the organization so we have no ambiguity on the words I use in the framework diagram?

Information, Information, Information, Information, Information

An Enterprise Architecture Framework diagram is useless when it is empty. So you need to fill it with data and give the data meaning, ergo turning it into information. Data often is not presented on a silver platter for you in the form you need for the framework diagram.

So you can as a busy enterprise architect reserve a few minutes a day to complete the Enterprise Architecture Framework diagram. And when, after some weeks, it has some completeness, present it to a chief or manager. Then you ask for time to complete the diagram and make it useful for supporting decision-making by chiefs and management.

Really, trust me, this works! Every time!

If you do not have 5 minutes every day left to work on your secret project (the framework diagram), you may use the example in this blog and show it to your boss and perhaps you may get the time to create your version of it.

Now it is your turn!

‘Every journey starts with the first step’. So why don’t you, given the chance you may like this blog, start following the checklist? What are the architectures recognized in your organization? What are the important parts of architecture? Are they available to use?

To stay away from remarks like ‘you are doing architecture for architecture only’: always link your effort and time to support project managers in aligning the architecture with the project solution before showstoppers appear!

Well I hope I have inspired you to start working on your secret project ‘the framework diagram’ and that you might even want to consider creating an interactive version of it. On the Dragon1 platform, we have a reference Enterprise Architecture Framework diagram you can reuse and adjust to your situation quickly, including the link to your projects.

Either way, static or interactive, I wish you lots of benefits in your organization by making use of the first aid kit for projects: The Enterprise Architecture Framework diagram.

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