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Collaboration within Enterprise Architecture

Jerad Speigel, CEO, Phase One
Jerad Speigel, CEO, Phase One

Jerad Speigel, CEO, Phase One

One of the primary roles of the CIO is to provide executive leadership for solution architecture and to serve as a champion for enterprise-level IT solutions. The role of the enterprise archi­tect is crucial within that solution architecture structure. In best practice, the enterprise architect facilitates and supports a shared understanding of enter­prise needs, helps formu­late recommendations to meet those needs, and provides guidance in the development of a plan-of-action for implementation. Enterprise archi­tecture is intended to bring a holistic view of not just technology plan­ning but the full spectrum of plan­ning disciplines: mis­sion/business planning, capital planning, secu­rity planning, infrastructure planning, human capital plan­ning, performance planning, and records planning.  

In practice, however, many CIOs instead have seen enterprise architects become increasingly narrow in how they view their role in solution architecture. This narrowing of scope has ramifications across the enterprise and results in executives and decision-makers who lack the foundation perspective needed to fully develop viable and complete plans-of-action. Executives need answers to fundamental questions, “What do I need to do, how do I secure it, how much will it cost, and when can it be done?” These questions need input from EA to be answered. Without EA in place fully formed plans-of-action are impossible to develop and it is difficult, if not impossible, to efficiently meet strategic, enterprise-wide goals.

"Enterprise architecture is not only bringing a holistic view of technology planning but the full spectrum of planning disciplines" 

Enterprise architects have drifted away from solution architecture and cyber security, budget, infrastructure, and other planners have, in turn wandered from enterprise architecture. This shift has created an environment that produces many individual plans (instead of one overall plan), expensive and time consuming planning, and in some instances an altogether avoidance of planning to head straight into purchasing or development. These consequences are the real challenges many CIOs face every day. They are systemic and pervasive, but they are not insurmountable. To overcome these challenges we need to focus on a few principles:  

• Planning is important. If planning isn’t done appropriately, the organization will waste time and money and perhaps never get where they need to go.  

• Planning must be inclusive. Planning cannot be done  within a single planning discipline.A plan must be  complete and represent the views of architects, budget,  cyber, infrastructure, etc.  

• Planning must have a clear executive intent. What do the executives really want to see as a result of the organization but around the globe, the planning? Needs will not be met if this is not handled  up front.

• Planning must be governed. Some group of people need to take accountability for ensuring that planning stays on track and the resulting plan will yield the desired results.

 • Planners must learn from others. Groups must know what has worked and what has not worked; not just within  

• Planning is often inter-organizational. Government agencies need to work together with other agencies and with industries to make things work.

“The Plan is Nothing, Planning is Everything” If planning is important–and when time is taken to plan–why does it occasionally result in worse performance? The answer might be in one critical missing element: collaboration. Mission and business areas often have multiple stakeholders who come with individual needs and opinions; there is never a single individual who is always right, always wrong, or all-knowledgeable about any given topic. Placing an emphasis on collaboration helps groups gain a consensus, pulls the best out of individual stakeholders, and ultimately delivers a better plan and a better product. Collaborative planning engages stakeholders throughout the planning process. As a result, when a decision is made all stakeholders feel a commitment to the proposed action and the chances of implementation increase dramatically. With these principles in mind, the development of the Collaborative Planning Methodology (CPM) was launched at the federal level as part of the Federal Enterprise Architecture Framework (FEAF) in 2012. Agencies, Departments, Commissions, and private sector companies that are associated with the public sector gathered to create a new and more impactful EA methodology. The result is an EA approach that re-defines the architecture discipline to focus on the larger role of planning and integrates the planning done by architects with the planning done by other disciplines. Architecture is but one planning discipline included in CPM. This new collaborative methodology is the next generation replacement for the Federal Segment Architecture Methodology (FSAM) and is helping eliminate waste and duplication, increase shared services, close performance gaps, and promote engagement among government, industry, and citizens across the government today.

CPM is a simple and repeatable process that consists of integrated, multi-disciplinary analysis and results in recommendations formed in collaboration with sponsors, stakeholders, planners, and implementers. This methodology leans more toward planning–less about architecture–and includes the master steps and detailed guidance for planners to use throughout the planning process. Focusing on collaboration and planning will put EA back into the solution management role where it belongs and help CIOs develop robust plans of action that meet tactical and strategic requirements. With the right framework, CIOs can keep EA from drifting away from its core responsibilities and better serve their customers.

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