August 29, 2007


User-centric EA seeks to align the various life cycle IT system processes to help users understand, navigate, and complete these as simply and smoothly as possible.

Below is an alignment of the processes for System Development Life Cycle (SDLC), Capital Planning and Investment Control (CPIC), Enterprise Architecture (EA), and the Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMBOK).





Conceptual Planning


Business Alignment


Planning & Requirements


Technical Alignment




Development & Testing


Operations & Maintenance


Architecture Assessment



The graphic demonstrates that the various IT system processes align quite nicely, and that user seeking to stand up a new system or make major changes to existing systems can follow the basic 7 steps of the SDLC and complete the requirements of CPIC, EA, and PMBOK along the way (the touch points are all identified).

The way to read this graphic is as follows:

For example, in the first phase of the SDLC, the conceptual planning stage, the user does the following: 1) defines their need (SDLC process) 2) develop their business justification and seek to obtain approval and funding from the IT Investment Review Board (CPIC process) 3) develops their business alignment and seeks approval from the Enterprise Architecture Board (EA process), and 4) define their project and seek authorization to proceed (PMBOK process).

For CPIC, users identify the following:

  • Select—How does the investment meet business decision criteria?
  • Control—Is the investment being managed with the planned cost, schedule, and performance criteria?
  • Evaluate—Did the investment meet the promised performance goals?

For EA, users demonstrate the following:

  • Business Alignment—Does the investment support the agency mission?
  • Technical Alignment—Does the investment interoperate within the technology infrastructure and meet technical standards?
  • Architecture Assessment—Is there a need to update the architecture?

For PMBOK, users complete various project management processes:

  • Initiating—Define and authorize the project.
  • Planning—Define objectives and plan course of action.
  • Executing—Integrates resources to carry out project management plan.
  • Closing—Accept product or service.

Note: The EA/CPIC alignment is adapted from Architecture Alignment and Assessment Guide, Chief Information Officers Council, August 2001. The PMBOK definitions are adopted from the Project Management Book of Knowledge, Third Edition.

User-centric EA promotes the alignment of the various IT system processes to help users to easily understand the touch points in the various life cycle steps to getting their system up and running. Moreover, the alignment enables the CIO to develop processes and job aids to assist and ‘speed’ users through the process. Thus, the processes are transformed from inhibitors to facilitators of systems progress for the enterprise.



Adrian Campbell said...

Your table is misleading.

Although the processes are shown to 'align quite nicely' they are not really aligned with each other on the same scope or aligned at the same point in time.
The processes all work on diffrent levels of concern and at diffierent points in time, from different views and perspectives.

An EA process works at the enterprise level and is executed well before programmes and projects exist.
The EA process deals with target vision deliverables and medium to long term plans, whereas a capital planning process (CPIC) will deal with current and near future plans.

A project management process will start well before a specific project exists and the software development process (SDLC) would start only when a project has actually been initiated.

Andy Blumenthal said...

Thank you for your comment Mr. Campbell. While you are correct that the processes work at different views and perspectives, they do indeed align and work together.

While EA plans are executed before projects, projects must undergo review as part of the CPIC process by both the investment review boarrd and its supporting EA review board: these reviews cover select-control-evaluate and EA business and technical alignment and architecture assessment.

I have chaired EA review boards and can assure you that these align and provide significant value to the process.

Andy Blumenthal said...

Thank you for the comment Jeffrey. I agree there is an element of simplification with the chart, but in a way that's the point of it--to convey complex spiral development processes in a way that they can be broken down to their primary elements and "engineered" for success all along the way. Yes, there may be steps that result in no-go decision points, and then the project manager may go back to "go" and does not collect $200; reference the game of monopoly :-)