WBISCT Pty Ltd – Enterprise Architecture Consulting and Training

EA Capability building, where do we start?

When it comes to building EA (Enterprise Architecture) capabilities, it’s important to take a structured approach that aligns with your organisation’s goals and objectives. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you get started:

  1. Define the Purpose and Scope: The EA capability is an asset because it has a value for the business. In this case, like every asset in the company, it must have an owner and a custodian. Generally the owner is the (architecture) sponsor and the custodian is the EA role. If you want to know more about what those roles entail, check out this post. Then the EA along with the sponsor, must clearly articulate the purpose of building an EA capability within your organisation. Identify the scope of your EA function and the specific areas it should cover, such as business architecture, information architecture, application architecture, and technology architecture. This is the moment where either you the EA have been hired to build the capability or the EA sponsor (the capability owner) has been appointed to make it happen, and that sponsor is now talking to you about it…
  2. Establish Governance: Set up an EA governance structure to ensure proper oversight, decision-making, and alignment with business goals. Define the roles and responsibilities of key stakeholders, including an EA steering committee (architecture board), (executive) sponsor, and EA team members (Domain Architects).
  3. Assess Current State (Baseline): Conduct a comprehensive assessment of your organisation’s current EA maturity level. Evaluate existing processes, frameworks, tools, and resources. Identify gaps and areas for improvement if you already have a capability in place. It is always best to “aim small to miss small”… Don’t overdo it or overspend at first unless you have done this a few times before. All actors (participants) must get on board with the processes and the tools, so they understand them perfectly.
  4. Develop a Roadmap (draw a Target): Based on the assessment findings, create a roadmap that outlines the steps and activities needed to enhance your EA capabilities. Prioritise the initiatives based on their impact and feasibility, considering factors like organisational readiness and resource availability (ref to the S.I.R.F). The Goldilocks theory says that your EA should be fit for purpose and nothing more (or less) so no need to burn stages and make your EA bigger than it should be. Stay SMART regarding your expectations and demands to your sponsor. Rome was not built in one day.
  5. Build the EA Team: Assembling a dedicated EA team is a must, but merely identifying individuals who will take on EA responsibilities alongside their existing roles is not a good idea, even if your EA capability is a solution delivery capability only. It is wiser to have abstract thinking specialists who will be available at any time to implement a request for architecture work… Consider hiring or training staff with relevant skills and experience in areas such as architecture frameworks, modelling techniques, and stakeholder management. But do not ignore sound project management and finance understanding skills either. Seniority in those roles bring experience (you know, that thing you get, right after you needed it in the first place…). Time is one ting no one can compress really, you have to live through the good but also the bad to learn how to handle it in the future…
  6. Define EA Principles and Frameworks: Establish a set of EA principles and a tailored framework that will guide your organisation’s architectural decisions. This means that you at the very least know your client Business very well… A good BizArch would help you with that. Identify industry-standard frameworks like TOGAF (The Open Group Architecture Framework) or develop custom frameworks tailored to your organisation’s needs. Check out the Zachman Taxonomy and the SABSA framework. They are eye-openers…
  7. Develop Architecture Artefacts: Create and maintain key EA artefacts, such as business capability maps, process models, data models, application portfolios, and technology landscapes. Use standardised notation and modelling tools to ensure consistency and ease of communication. There are open source type and free notation schema along with free SaaS tools that can bring you up to speed with that.
  8. Foster Collaboration: Facilitate collaboration and communication among various stakeholders, including business leaders, IT teams, and subject-matter experts. Encourage active participation in the EA process and promote cross-functional understanding of architectural concepts. Have an open door policy, walk around the business areas and build up relationships with other capabilities, introducing your self and what you are offering to them. Something that you also learn in our EA practical workshop course
  9. Drive Value Delivery: Align your EA efforts with strategic initiatives and projects within the organisation, ALWAYS. Alignment of EA outputs with the target business motivations is the key to success here. Use EA artefacts to guide decision-making and ensure that projects adhere to architectural standards and principles. Measure and communicate the value delivered by EA in terms of improved efficiency, cost savings, risk mitigation, and business outcomes.
  10. Continuous Improvement: EA is an ongoing discipline, so establish mechanisms for continuous improvement. If your EA deliverable is a baby, then an implementer can be seen as a midwife and your EA capability team are the baby’s proud parents… The PMO delivers full stop, but your EA team should feel responsible for the solution in place throughout its lifecycle, just like a parent watches over a child from birth … You also never stop learning from your baby’s productivity in operations, and it will also teach you a lot a bout the quality and endurance of your EA design over several years sometimes… Regularly review and update your EA artefacts, frameworks, and processes to adapt to changing business needs and technology trends. Learn from the outcomes of EA initiatives and refine your approach over time. The Reuse ability of a framework like TOGAF is a key value here…

Remember, building EA capabilities is a long-term journey that requires commitment, collaboration, and organisational support. It’s crucial to gain executive sponsorship and engage stakeholders throughout the process to ensure the success of your EA initiatives.

Interested in building an EA capability of your own? Talk to us and also check out our EA practical workshop 3-day course