>CONOPS, Proof of Concepts, Prototypes, Pilots, and Enterprise Architecture


User-centric EA seeks to implement successful IT governance for the enterprise. As such, it seeks to ensure that new systems not only meet users’ requirements, but also that organizational investments in new IT are successful.

There are a number of ways to phase in a new system to help ensure its success for the organization.

By first developing a clear definition of capabilities (CONOPS), and moving from proof of concept to prototype and to pilot, risk is mitigated on new system implementations and more systems are successfully brought to fruition. This phased systems development approach helps User-centric EA meets it target architecture and transition plan for the organization.

  • Concept of Operations (CONOPS)—evolves from a concept and is a description of how a set of capabilities may be employed to achieve desired objectives or a particular end state for a specific scenario.”
  • Proof of Concepta partial solution to a problem intended to prove the viability of the concept. A proof of concept may involve a small number of users acting in a business (non-IT) role using the system to establish that it satisfies some aspect of the requirements for the complete solution. The proof of concept is usually considered a milestone on the way of a fully functioning prototype.
  • Prototype—an original instance of some thing serving as a typical example for other things of the same category. A prototype is built to test the function and feel of the new design before starting production of a product.
  • Pilot—an initial roll out of a system into production targeting a limited scope of the intended final solution. The scope may be limited by the number of users which can access the system or by the business categories affected or the business partners involved or other restrictions as appropriate to the domain. The intent of a pilot project is to validate that the system is working in production as designed and limiting the business exposure if it is not.”

Note: Definitions of proof of concept, prototype, and pilot project were adapted from Wikipedia. The Definition for CONOPS was adapted from Navy Warfare Development Command (public website).