June 22, 2008

What Not to Tell Your Boss and Enterprise Architecture

ComputerWorld Magazine, 20 June 2008, tells us five things you don’t want to tell the CIO and which I believe tracks closely with the enterprise architecture function and goals, as follows:

  1. “All about the technology -- and nothing about the business”—just like enterprise architecture is about business driving technology, rather than doing technology for technology’s sake, so too the CIO is interested in aligning business and technology. So don’t just go to the CIO talking technology solutions unless you have a clear understanding and can articulate the business requirements.
  2. “There's only one solution”—in enterprise architecture and IT governance, we validate requirements against the architecture—the baseline, the target, and the transition plan. It is especially important to check if there are existing systems, products, and standard that can be used to meet user requirements, rather than building or acquiring something from scratch. There is rarely only a single technology solution for a business problem. Therefore, we need to evaluate the proposed new IT investment in terms of the return on investment, risk management, strategic business alignment, and technical compliance. Additionally, we need to review the analysis of alternatives to make sure we are effectively managing our scarce IT resources.
  3. “Bad opinions about your colleagues”—EA planning and governance makes information transparent and enables better decision making. With EA information, vetting of IT investment and collaborative decision making, there is no need to point fingers at each other over failed IT projects. Instead, through sharing information and bringing IT project stakeholders together, we all have input into the decision process and share the project risk.
  4. “There's no way”—With enterprise architecture, rather than say there’s no way to achieve enterprise goals or overcome technical challenges, we develop a target and plan for how we will do it. No, the goals are not achieved overnight, but rather by following a meticulous and vetted plan, usually over a period of three to five years, we can transform the enterprise.
  5. A surprise”—Bosses don’t like surprises. In a professional setting, we usually like rational thinking, process, structure, and planning, so that we can effectively deal with the chaotic world out there. EA planning and structured governance helps the organization stay on course and not get surprised or thrown. The planning process itself involves looking at our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, and makes us more self-aware and proactive as an organization, so there are less surprises waiting to ambush us.

EA helps us to NOT have to tell our boss, the CIO, things he doesn’t want to hear, because we are proactive in our approach to planning and governance.


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