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Enlightening. Provided a good atmosphere to discuss ideas, thoughts and concepts. - Director, Waxtie, UK, May 2013

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Yes - Simplicity, Pragmatism ... :-), Makes a esoteric concept understandable, i.e. cuts down on the buzzwords. - Enterprise Architect, Sun Chemical, USA, May 2010

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Because the field of Enterprise Architecture is very immature and there is no way to know who is and is not a "real" Enterprise Architect, almost anyone can call themselves an Enterprise Architect and begin telling others about it.

Over the years this has caused a massive amount of disinformation to build up and percolate around the business and IT communities which has lead people to have very negative views about what EA is and what it means for their Enterprise.

There are many misconceptions associated with bringing Enterprise Architecture to an Enterprise. But more than misconception, they are real risks.

Each risk defined, documents the impact and general mitigation strategies to deal with them and they are all fundamentally perception problems.

It's another silver bullet

Description

EA is perceived as a perfect fix for all of an Enterprise's problems, with little or no work or cost.

Impact

FAILURE

Other associated and related activities are overlooked and stagnate while the Nirvana that EA is supposed to provide, but will not, is created.

Reality

EA is one tool in toolbox that an Enterprise uses to run efficiently. It is linked to and cooperates with other processes in the Enterprise.

Likelihood / Impact

M / H

Mitigation

Communication

Nothing to do with me, mate!

Description

EA is perceived as an IT or technology level thing.

Impact

FAILURE

The Business does not engage with IT. The board does not see EA as something that it should discuss. It's for the IT Director to do if he wants.

IT builds models and diagrams for its own purposes but does not connect them to the business level adequately thereby propagating the myth.

EA is placed under the control of the IT Director or CIO. It loses visibility at the board level and descends into being seen as a cost rather than an asset.

Reality

EA is a tool to expose the relationships between the Business and IT. It is ultimately a business tool to enable the board and senior management to see and therefore understand the components of the Enterprise and the relationships between them.

Likelihood / Impact

H / H

Mitigation

Communication

How much!!!

Description

EA is perceived as large, costly and slow.

EA is perceived as a huge Initiative to immediately move the Enterprise from Current to Target with associated huge costs and timescales.

Impact

FAILURE

Similar to large EAI Initiatives in the past large sums of money are spent and time invested until the bubble bursts and someone asks "what are we getting for all this money we are spending".

Reality

The initial setup of EA should take no longer than 6 months so long as it is driven in the right way.

The planning part of EA (as an integral part of the annual business planning cycle) should take no longer than 3 months.

The initiatives that come out of the business planning exercise do not try to solve all problems in the first year. There is always a mixture of strategic, tactical, and temporary work in any initiative.

Likelihood / Impact

M / M

Mitigation

Communication

Are we there yet?

Description

EA is perceived as a destination rather than a journey, and/or as a deliverable rather than a process with deliverables.

Impact

FAILURE

Once the principles and models are done they slowly get more and more out of date leading to distrust of them and finally resulting in Shelfware and just another set of diagrams and lists we never use.

Reality

The setup phase of EA is a destination but that is only to provide the environment to be able to perform the repetitive processes of governance and business planning.

Likelihood / Impact

M / H

Mitigation

Communication

I have important firefighting to do...

Description

EA is perceived as a roadblock to more important and immediate problems such as "getting the car out of the river".

EA is perceived as purely long term & strategic and not capable of adding value in a tactical world.

Impact

FAILURE

EA never gets a look in with senior management as they are solely concentrating today's, this week's, or this month's crisis.

Reality

EA never says yes or no. It provides the environment for senior management to see and understand the implications and effects of their decisions BEFORE they make them.

EA does not preclude short term, tactical or even "throwaway" work. Having EA means that however much tactical or "throwaway" work needs to be done, it is done in the context of a wider and more strategic context.

Likelihood / Impact

H / H

Mitigation

Communication

We don't live in a perfect world

Description

EA is perceived as ivory tower, academic and theoretical and is only applicable if we lived in a perfect world.

Impact

FAILURE

Senior management does not engage, meaning EA tries to move forward by driving from the bottom up and is viewed as something to be placated to "just get them off my back so I can do something more useful instead".

The business and IT remain unconnected. Initiatives continue to operate in silos with short term goals.

Reality

It is precisely because we don't live in a perfect world that we need EA.

Likelihood / Impact

H / H

Mitigation

Communication

Oh what pretty pictures

Description

EA is perceived as creating static "pretty" pictures that hang on people's walls but not used by anyone.

Impact

FAILURE

"Pictures" or models, have some value to certain people but they are mostly viewed as things to point at when saying "we have an architecture" rather than living things which aid understanding and decision making.

Reality

Models are powerful things that convey understanding and therefore then provide the basis for understanding the impacts of change). Whilst sometimes it is more beneficial to deal with lists and spreadsheets there are times where pictures show problems and inconsistencies much more clearly.

EA allows access to dynamic Models.

Likelihood / Impact

H / H

Mitigation

Communication

EA models should be online and navigable.

EA models should consist of different and appropriate views and viewpoints targeted at specific audiences.

EA Models should be actively used in business planning and projects to assess impact & risk and perform what-if analyses.

I can't afford a modelling tool!

Description

EA modelling tools are perceived as expensive and "nice to have" but not mandatory.

Impact

FAILURE

Pictures and discrete spreadsheets are mostly produced in silos with little reuse value, with a huge information gaps and with the most important relationships missing. These pictures are, or soon become, out of date as the pictures and spreadsheets are not maintained,

Reality

Compared to the cost of paying people to manually maintain the linkages between pictures and spreadsheets, the cost of a tool is very small.

Some things are not possible without a tool, e.g. managing relationships, building different views, Version control, security. federation of maintenance rights., etc.

Likelihood / Impact

H / H

Mitigation

Communication

Evaluate and source a tool

Expend the necessary time to understand, configure and use the tool

I don't want another maintenance nightmare

Description

EA models are perceived as being owned and updated by IT.

Impact

FAILURE

IT does not have the bandwidth to maintain all of the information and therefore parts of the model become out of date, unconnected and subsequently unused.

Reality

Maintenance of the information within an EA model repository is performed by those most suitable and able to maintain it. E.g. IT people maintain application, Database and hardware information, Business people maintain objectives, products and business activities information.

Likelihood / Impact

H / H

Mitigation

Communication

EA Models are owned by the stakeholders/users of the views.

The different entities and relationships are owned and maintained as part of existing business and IT processes by the people most appropriate for that entity/relationship

How many paperclips do we have and who is using each one

Description

EA is perceived as producing Models with huge amounts of detail and will descend into analysis paralysis.

Impact

FAILURE

The high level strategic view is lost.

A huge amount of work is done for little benefit to the stakeholders

Reality

EA is all primarily about breadth rather than depth (although deep dives may be necessary occasionally).

EA is interested in the entire breadth of an Enterprise but only as much depth as required for the strategic planning and governance of initiatives.

Likelihood / Impact

M / M

Mitigation

Communication

Stay at the right level of granularity

It's something Consultants invented to get more money

Description

EA is perceived as of no use and will only cost money for no benefit.

Impact

FAILURE

No EA.

Reality

As a tool, EA can and will be abused and misused by certain elements for their own benefit and gain.

However, the misuse of a tool does not mean the tool is useless.

EA is driven by an Enterprise's understanding of EA not by consultants.

Likelihood / Impact

M / M

Mitigation

Communication.

You can't define the future

Description

EA is perceived as not being able to define a Future state because no one knows what that is and it's always changing anyway.

Impact

FAILURE

The long term direction is not known and therefore work operates in a "today" silo timeframe resulting in people not even knowing if the decisions they are taking are good or bad in the long term.

Reality

All Enterprises have some idea of a future state, The fact that their view may not be complete and is probably prone to change does not detract away from this long term general vision, and it is this vision that guides the ship.

Likelihood / Impact

H / H

Mitigation

Communication

Make sure the "Target" Model is defined at the correct level of granularity and well understood by the Business and IT

Don't tell the business what to do

Description

The perception is that IT is dictating to the Business.

Impact

FAILURE

IT tells the Business how wrong it is, how stupid it has been in the past and how IT knows what to do to solve all their problems.

The business stops listening to IT.

Reality

EA is all about the Business and IT working in a true partnership, where each understands the other enough to be able to co-operatively work together to achieve shared goals.

Likelihood / Impact

M / M

Mitigation

Communication.

Don't tell IT what to do

Description

The perception is that the Business is dictating to IT.

Impact

FAILURE

The business dictates how, when and with what IT will do its job. Requirements are thrown over the wall like incendiaries.

IT stops listening to the Business.

Reality

EA is all about the Business and IT working in a true partnership, where each understands the other enough to be able to co-operatively work together to achieve shared goals.

Likelihood / Impact

M / M

Mitigation

Communication.

Let's model everything

Description

Feverish modelling of various things without a plan for how to gather the data, how to QA it, and who will benefit from it once it is gathered.

Impact

FAILURE

A large amount of work is done gathering data and producing diagrams for little or no benefit.

Models are not connected to the sources of the information and so people continue to use the diagrams and spreadsheets they always have used or they start creating new one duplicating effort.

Reality

EA is all about being of value to the Enterprise. Models should not be created without a firm idea of who will use the information, in what way, and for what benefit.

Likelihood / Impact

H / H

Mitigation

Communication.

Clearly Define the Version 0.1 Meta-model

Clearly define the benefits to what stakeholders the model will bring

Shhh! Don't mention the words EA

Description

EA is driven in a largely covert manner, It is only known of within IT and even then only to a very select few.

Impact

FAILURE

EA is only used for managing IT and usually largely from an infrastructure point of view. The business and IT remain largely unconnected.

Reality

EA is all about connecting things.

EA is a cultural shift and therefore needs to be communicated, understood and bought into by the entire Enterprise.

Likelihood / Impact

H / H

Mitigation

Communication.

But my bonus is on this year's figures not those in 2-5 years time

Description

Executive incentives reward short term investments and reduced acquisition costs.

Impact

FAILURE

These incentives are in direct conflict with the stated vision, objectives and principles that EA aims to achieve.

Reality

EA is all about investment for future benefit.

Executives should be incentivized to produce long terms benefit.

Executives should be de-incentivized from producing short term benefits at the expense of long term strategic goals.

Likelihood / Impact

H / H

Mitigation

Communication.

Change the Executive incentive scheme. Reward strategic and long term thinking

 



 

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