The Enterprise Architecture Journey

As I talked about in last week’s post, I believe that Enterprise Architecture is all about getting organized and prepared, to help an organization reach its future goals. For those organizations who are just beginning their EA journey, this entails having an understanding of where you are currently, and what the effort will be to get you to your future state. Much like preparing to take a trip, you need to have a destination in mind. From there, you look at different areas of planning and ask various questions. How far am I going? What mode of transportation will I use? Where will I stay? How long do I expect to be gone? Will I need a map? How much will it cost me? Will I need a passport? What will the weather be like? What should I pack? All of these questions hopefully lead to the end goal of a pleasant trip.

Similarly, you need to ask these same questions when you begin to implement an EA:

  • Where are we right now? Or, what is our current state?
  • How are we structured? Or, what’s our charter?
  • What are our standards? Or, what are our business and technology guiding principles?
  • What’s our destination? Or, what will the future state look like?
  • How long do I expect to be gone? Or, what’s our timeline?
  • Will I need a map? Or, what does my roadmap look like?
  • How much will it cost? Or, what’s our budget target?
  • What equipment will we need? Or, what hardware and software and telephony will we need?
  • How will we stay on track? Or, how do we intend to govern/manage the project?

The success of an EA initiative depends on the answers to these questions. And much like a trip planner, a Common Requirements Vision bundles all these answers together. This information is then stored in someplace easily accessible, such as an online repository.

Of course, this analogy may seem a little simplistic, given the pace of business and the degree of complexity over the course of the initiative. Goals and priorities, and technology can change. This means keeping up a productive pace, and maintaining good governance. And much like a pleasant trip, the journey in the end is worth it – to the organization and its stakeholders.

Here’s to success in your individual and organizational journeys.

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2 thoughts on “The Enterprise Architecture Journey

  1. Tracie,

    This was a very good analogy that I feel helps to frame the elements of an EA program that has a good chance of being successful. Continuing with this analogy, I feel that another initial question that needs to be answered is “Are we sure we want to embark on this trip?” The commitment to make EA successful can be significant in nature and challenging to obtain or it can be naturally present depending on the leadership of the enterprise, the openness of everyone to participate in something transformational in nature, and a willingness to challenge what has always been.

    The greatest journey is often daunting until you identify the steps along the way and work through each as necessary. Must like taking a family with a number of children across country can seem like a mountain of headaches…you would handle each step one at a time and also plan for those unexpected change of plans that come with any great adventure.

    Thank you. Best of luck!

    – Keith

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  2. Great comment Keith – I had actually thought of that after I posted. And you are absolutely right in that most of the time, once you make a decision to take the journey, you have to be committed to taking the next step, and the next. When I started this grad school journey, it was easy to feel overwhelmed. But as I focused on just the next step, and the next, it became less so. I think it would be good for organizations to have a similar mindset.

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