Measure and Improve Working with Visual Enterprise Architecture

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Enterprise Architecture

Published on 20 sep 2018

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Measure and Improve Working with Visual Enterprise Architecture

The diagram above shows, aimed at managers, the steps to take to work with visual enterprise architecture. Meaning: using approved visualizations of architecture, aligned with the strategy, containing mandatory principles and standards in projects.

The challenge in many organizations is to make sure the organization stays adaptive and flexible even when continuously the organization is changing and transforming.

So every concept or solution that is implemented in the organization, must be able to integrate and collaborate with the other solutions. Things may not grow too complicated and everything must stay safe, sound, secure and agile.

Working with architecture helps in this case. With architecture you can provide any project, whether it's a waterfall or agile style execution, with mandatory principles and standards to follow.

But for that to be done successfully, you must follow a certain order of steps.

The basic steps to take are:

  • Start (with Strategy)
  • Set Priorities
  • List Projects (Portfolio)
  • Setup KPIs
  • Choose Concepts and Solutions
  • Create Architecture Visualizations
  • Communicate Principles and Standards to Stakeholders
  • Use Architecture Visualizations in Projects (for guidance, decision support and monitoring progress)
  • Update the Architecture Visualizations based on Feedback
  • Finish (with Transformation)

Working with Architecture is a strategic activity in the enterprise. The principles and standards you want people to make use of in projects need to be derived from or aligned to the strategy.

That is why the first steps cover Setting Priorities, Portfolio management and setting up KPIs.

Everything done in the organization must support or realize priorities via the projects, or else it is not justified to spend time and money on it.

And with this list of activities you measure and improve the way you do EA.

Thus the concepts and solutions one as architect chooses and proposes (like IoT, Blockchain and AI) to the owner/client and stakeholders, are only there to build things that help realize the strategy.

The architect visualizes the concepts and solutions in such a way for stakeholders and projects that everyone understands the why, what, how and when and with what.

Inside concepts there are principles (the working mechanisms of concepts) and onto solutions, there are standards applied. When owner/clients approve the principles and standards, they become mandatory for projects.

So in a nutshell with the picture and list of steps above we describe working (measuring and improving) with visual enterprise architecture in an organization.

Questions Anyone?

Now questions you could yourself are:

  1. Do we have a clear list of agreed priorities (or goals or issues)?
  2. Are the projects linked to the priorities (or goals or issues)
  3. Do we have a mapping from concepts to solutions to projects to priorities?
  4. Do we have a list of architecture design choices and architecture principles
  5. Are principles mapped forward to standards and mapped backward to concepts?
  6. Do we have clear visualizations of the concepts, solutions and principles and standards?
  7. Are the visualizations approved and or actually used (as mandatory input) in projects?
  8. Are feedback and change requested provided and actually processed to improve the architecture visualization?

If you can answer all these questions positively, that you working with visual enterprise architecture to the max.

If you cannot answer all these questions positively, check out www.dragon1.com/resources. There you can read the Dragon1 EA method specification on how to improve your way of working with EA.

Also you can contact us via info@dragon1.com for any question, help or support in working with EA.

Use this Visual for Assessment

If you click on the shapes for each step, you can toggle it to Red, Orange and Green. In that way, you can score what you are and are not doing. The final picture you can print, save as pdf and share with others. In this way, you are doing a miniature Visual Enterprise Architecture assessment.

Create your own Big Pictures on Dragon1

Dragon1 as repository-based SaaS platform is fit for creating your own Visual Enterprise Architecture products, like big blueprints, landscape and roadmaps, but also fit for creating tiny interactive diagrams, like the one above, to you for reporting progress of doing a self-assessment.