Architecture and Governance Magazine, Volume 4, Issue 1, has an article called “The Secrets of IT Success: Transforming Companies” that identifies three critical architectural elements necessary for successful IT project execution, or as I see it, project initiation.
These critical IT project elements are as follows:
- Community Analysis—“It must understand the needs of the customers, the supply chain, and the transactions necessary for the day-to-day running of the business…generate understanding on both the business and IT sides of the equation, to capture organizational goals comprehensively, and to enable effective training and buy-in, IT analysts and engineers must identify with and embrace the community to be transformed.”
- Operations Analysis—“A deep understanding of the operational activities, capabilities, and business processes…Here work activities are identified, captured, and catalogued so that information flows, technologies, roles, and other processes and elements can be accurately mapped. The analytical results from this phase give a clear perspective to move from the business’s needs to the requirements of the new technology that will need to be implemented.
- Technology Analysis—“technical needs are defined and blueprinted, and their intersections with business rules are specified…A multidimensional analytical view encompassing user workflow, technologies, data, security, business rules, and interfaces can greatly enhance the pure IT view of transformation.”
To me this translates in simple terms to the following:
- Business needs
- Functional and technical requirements
- Technology solutions
While these IT project elements factor into the development of the enterprise architecture, they are more the domain of segment and solutions architecture that work toward business and operational outcomes, rather than strategic-level outcomes.
The article also calls for the use of visual tools to aid in IT project analysis:
- “In all three phases, a key ingredient is supplying a visual tool as part of the universal language that will be used throughout the project to facilitate clear communications between members of the community affected by it. Consistent and unambiguous visual expressions of the operational need and intent immeasurably enhance the likelihood of a successful IT implementation.”
This call for the use of visual tools is similar to and supportive of the use of information visualization in User-centric EA, where information visualization is especially helpful in the high-level, strategic profile views of the architecture as well as in modeling business, data, and systems. In all areas of User-centric EA, the principles of communication and design are critical for developing useful and usable information products and governance services for the end-user.