One of my colleagues recently shared an interesting paper with me entitled, ‘Why Two Thirds of Enterprise Architecture Projects Fail’. The report, compiled by Sven Roeleven publishes the findings of a study completed by Rotterdam University. During the survey, 161 respondents from 89 organisations representing a range of industries where questioned about implementation of the enterprise architecture concept. And, as the title suggests, the results were not overly encouraging.
I will embed a link to the paper at the end of this article but first, I wanted to draw attention to what for me, is a list of typical sources of failure that are widespread throughout any change process.
Many of those responding to the survey cited reasons for EA project failure as:
1. Not enough support from C-level (CIO and CFO for example) so that EA is not given enough status and expectations cannot be fulfilled in practice.
2. Limited commitment from interested parties so that there is a return to old habits, and agreements are not complied with.
3. Not enough EA awareness among interested parties inside the organisation. EA is not a generally accepted concept in daily business activities.
4. Financial and political issues that thwart EA projects.
5. Setting up an architecture [practice] takes longer than expected. This means it takes longer for the results to become visible, which means there is a considerable risk factor for EA.
Quite clearly, all five of the reasons listed above are due to a distinct lack of stakeholder engagement. Granted, there may be an ‘Ah, but..!’ moment when it comes to number 4 (finance); but we believe that in most cases, if the value of the EA project is articulated well enough at the beginning, then sponsorship funding can usually be diverted or can suddenly be made available.
Stakeholder engagement is attributable to the ability to lead people effectively. Therefore, Effective Leadership is key to successful business transformations in which Enterprise Architecture plays a major role.
Plainly speaking, if you can’t lead your stakeholders through and importantly throughout the process then you’re likely to fail. Failure costs time, money and reputation.
You need to lead!
Our our Enterprise Architecture Professional Development program which includes elevating EA can and will help you. Check out our website for further details about courses running near you. We also offer an on-line version of Elevating EA.
Two thirds of EA projects fail. Make sure that yours falls into that successful third and help to raise the bar for the good of the worldwide EA community.
Finally, as promised; here’s the link to the report, ‘Why Two Thirds of Enterprise Architecture Projects Fail’.
Professional Development Architect