“Do I have to ‘do’ the whole Enterprise?”
“Can I start small and get some benefits first and then grow
“Can I start with one Department or Business Unit?”
The short answer is - No!
The long answer is - It depends!
When thinking about Enterprise Architecture, most people
think about the noun - the structure of the Enterprise. This is perfectly
understandable since an Enterprise Architecture is exactly that - the structure
of the Enterprise. It therefore logically (albeit incorrectly) follows that you
can decide to make the domain of “Enterprise Architecture” a sub-part of the
whole Enterprise structure - like a Department or a Business Unit for example.
Hence people often say “we will start small and just ‘do’ EA on one Business
Unit”. However, if you think about the purpose of EA and what it is used for,
then this simplistic structural view breaks down.
If we think about the verb - “doing” Enterprise Architecture
(primarily Roadmapping) we begin to understand that the domain we choose to
“do” EA on, is not determined by selecting an arbitrary part of the Enterprise
like a Business Unit, but upon what needs to be Transformed and why, which is
driven by the Enterprise Strategy (or more specifically, the part of the
Enterprise Strategy that the Enterprise cannot satisfy, or only partially
satisfy, in its current structural state.
So, the structure of what is in scope in terms of EA is not
defined by a Business Unit or a Department per se, but by the parts of the
Enterprise that the people involved in Roadmapping deem requires
Transformation. Hence “doing” EA is already descoped to comprise only the parts
of the Enterprise that currently need to change in response to the current
Having now understood this view, if we consider again the
initial questions regarding “starting small” and “reducing the scope”, it is
clear that we are now referring to reducing the scope of work undertaken by the
people involved in Roadmapping. If we wished to do this, we are in effect
saying we would utilise EA tools and techniques for doing some of the
roadmapping work and not use them for the remaining roadmapping work. This does
not make much sense.
So, the “scope” of EA (at any point in time) is determined
by the Enterprise Strategy (at that point in time) not on a Department or
Business Unit level.
However, there are two slight (but very important)
exceptions to this rule.
first is when an Enterprise has more than one Roadmapping group. For example if
a very large Enterprise is composed of some large parts and these large parts
each have their own Roadmapping groups, then you could reduce the scope of EA
to one of those groups. Not because they are a separate group, but because they
have a separate Roadmapping group.
What do people in your
Enterprise think about the scope of EA?
Are they arbitrarily trying to
descope EA to a structural part of the Enterprise?
If they are, how does this fit
in with the work being undertaken by the people involved in Roadmapping?
Does your Enterprise have more
than one Roadmapping Group?
second is when there is an EA Catalyst…