>Teamwork and Enterprise Architecture

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User-centric EA helps people in the enterprise work together as a team, rather than in individual or functional silos.

EA helps foster teamwork by:

  • Information Transparency: creating repositories of information that everyone can use and share
  • Bridging Disparate Parts of the Enterprise: aligning business and information technology and thereby bridging the gap between operations and support in the organization
  • Showing People Where They Fit: Modeling business processes, information requirements, and technology solutions, so all users and entities in the organization understand where and how they fit.
  • Consolidating and Coordinating a Common Way Ahead: developing consolidated strategies, enterprise plans and solutions versus individual or stove-piped ones.

How does teamwork help an enterprise succeed?

Well for one, teams are where most innovations takes place and innovation and creativity are key for an organization to survive and thrive.

The Wall Street Journal in conjunction with MIT Sloan School of Management on 15 September 2007 reports that “most companies assume that innovation comes from an individual genius or small, sequestered teams. Yet…most innovations are created through networks—groups of people working in concert. To lay the groundwork, organizations must make it easy for employees to talk to their peers, share ideas, and collaborate. Among other strategies, companies should make an effort to break down the walls between company departments and rapidly test and refine ideas.”

Also, teams are where ideas are shared and vetted. You get a better end-product by valuing individual and cultural diversity and hearing opposing points of view.

EA benefits from and contributes to teamwork and innovation by bringing together, documenting and making transparent information, planning, and governance across the enterprise. This aids people in sharing ideas, projects, products, and standards, and in capitalizing on sound innovations by developing these into new IT investments and possibly enterprise solutions. EA, teamwork, and innovation go hand-in-hand.

>Effective Teams and Enterprise Architecture

>In User-centric EA, not only is human capital (individuals) important to the organization’s growth and development, but also groups or teams of people are vital to getting the most difficult of jobs done.

The Wall Street Journal, 13 August 2007, states that the CEO of ICU Medical Inc. “had an epiphany watching his son play hockey. The opposing team had a star, but his son’s team ganged up on him and won.” The lesson for the CEO was that “the team was better than one player.” The CEO used this lesson about the importance and strength of teams encourage teaming in his organization, and in general to delegate better to his employees, and getting their input on decisions

While EA is a program often associated with and reporting to the Chief Information Officer, and is thus considered somewhat technical in nature, a large part of architecting the enterprise is understanding and believing in the importance of people—individuals and teams—to getting the job done and getting it done right.

Moreover, teams can accomplish what individuals cannot. There is strength in numbers. Like the CEO of ICU Medical learned, a great player can be overcome by even a mediocre team.

>Building a Winning Team and Enterprise Architecture

>To build a winning team for developing and maintaining a successful User-centric EA program, there are 7 key positions:

  1. Chief Enterprise Architect (CEA)—The CEA is the executive responsible for leading the enterprise architecture program; the CEA has the vision and the ability to communicate and execute on that vision.
  2. Requirements Manager—The requirements manager is the individual who is responsible for understanding the users’ requirements for EA information, planning, and governance.
  3. Solutions Manager—The solutions manager is responsible for developing EA products and services to fulfill (superbly) the requirements of the end-users.
  4. Configuration Manager—The configuration manager maintains the relevancy of the EA products by ensuring they remain current, accurate, and complete.
  5. Communications Manager—The communications manager markets and communicates all EA products and services, and is responsible for end-user training and outreach.
  6. Technical Writer—The technical writer produces EA product textual content for all EA communications media (such as the website, printed handbook, policy, practices, and so on)
  7. Graphic Designer—The graphic designer creates innovative visual and graphics displays for EA products, especially profiles (high-level, strategic views of the EA) and models (mid-level EA views that show relationships of processes, information flows, and system interoperability.

Of course, there are many others on the EA team that contribute to its success, including all the architects, analysts, planners, and data specialists.

Together, the 7 key positions and various specialists develop the organization’s User-centric EA and focus on helping the organization execute its mission and generating value to the enterprise through information, planning, and governance.