Posts Tagged ‘SSFEA’

Using Soft Skills to Promote Architecture to the Business

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011
Keith Flanagan

Keith Flanagan

I recently co-delivered the first Soft Skills for Enterprise Architects (SSFEA) course in North America for a private client, and I am happy to report that the course went extremely well with a great bunch of delegates who participated fully in all of the discussions and exercises.  So much benefit is derived from full engagement on both sides of the classroom and this occasion had been no exception.

I have however, noticed a reoccurring view that the majority of our clients share ever since we first took SSFEA to the market earlier this year and that is:

Architecture really does need to promote itself better within the business space.

An often misunderstood view is that Architecture sits squarely within the realms of IT and although this may sometimes be true – it clearly doesn’t necessarily apply in all cases.  Moreover, if Architecture is part of the IT business unit, it does not necessarily equate that its value ends there; indeed, worse still if key stakeholders have a dim view of the IT business unit.

Many Architects find themselves having little influence at the preliminary or vision phases of projects and are often brought into the development at a later stage; usually by the PMO. Unsurprisingly, the point of influence is weakened by this time as many of the key decisions have already been made and the Architect is left to play catch-up and may sometimes be viewed as a barrier by the Project Manager whose prime concern is timely delivery.

So how does the Architect Community raise its profile within the business to a point whereby it can influence projects at the initial stages?

Comparisons can be drawn from the world of Human Resources.  For years, HR was viewed as merely an administrative function by many organisations.  Often outsourced; some Business Executives would consider HR as a mere service provider with little or no input at a strategic level.  To some extent this view has now changed.  Sections of the HR Community redefined itself as Business Partners and many organisations now regard the HR Business Partner as a strategist who adds value.  Clearly, this change in cultural thinking takes time and is only achieved by the ‘partner’ continually proving their worth.

Without doubt, skills in effective communication, value propositioning and stakeholder management are key to engagement and influence.  There needs to be strong leadership throughout all of the Architect Communities with everyone preaching similar value messages.  But saying ‘Because, Architecture is good for you’ is obviously not enough.  Communities must be able to explain the value of Architecture to business leaders in business terms and, this means that the Architect Communities must develop skills in empathy when it comes to the strategic direction of the organisation.  Confusing non-technologists with ‘techno-speak’ will only add to the problem and is likely to result in avoidance and misunderstanding.  Most business leaders are concerned with only a small number of factors; usually:  Risk, cost, time and return on investment, not necessarily in that order – are usually at the top concerns.  Understanding this and building value propositions in ‘business-speak’ around the concerns of key stakeholders will demonstrate strategic awareness and help elevate the profile to some extent.  The rest is down to developing other soft skills in influencing and creating quick-win situations which prove value through the design and deployment of good architecture.

Keith Flanagan

For the AtE Team

If you are interested in learning more about our Soft Skills for Enterprise Architects course – contact a member of our team who will be happy to assist with any questions you may have.

Leadership, Strategic Planning & SSFEA Goes Live – Check out what’s inside our June Newsletter

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011


The June AtE Newsletter is now available online. Here’s a summary of what’s inside this month:

Serge Thorn

How Strategic Planning Relates to Enterprise Architecture
Serge Thorn, CIO

TOGAF® often refers to Strategic Planning without specifying the details of what it consists of. This document explains why there is a perfect fit between the two.

Strategic Planning means different things to different people. The one constant is its reference to Business Planning which usually occurs annually in most companies. One of the activities of this exercise is the consideration of the portfolio of projects for the following financial year, also referred to as Project Portfolio Management (PPM). This activity may also be triggered when a company modifies its strategy or the priority of its current developments.

Ben Ponne

Leadership – Environment, Behaviour and Personality
Ben Ponne, Business Manager, Asia Pacific

In last month’s article, Leadership – Power and Politics, we discussed the role of power in organisations and how this relates to organisational culture. We also discussed the significant impact that politics and culture can have on productivity. Therefore many personal attributes of successful IT Managers and Enterprise Architects have to do with politics and the ability to inspire respect, build teams and shape culture. This article describes the key attributes and behaviours commonly associated with successful leaders.

Keith Flanagan

Soft Skills for Enterprise Architecture Goes Live!
Keith Flanagan, Head of Global HR & Professional Development

Last month, Architecting the Enterprise launched its’ first Soft Skills for Enterprise Architects (SSFEA) course in London, UK. The feedback received was fantastic as attendees reported the skills learned are exactly what they feel are required to take Enterprise Architecture to a higher level of success within their organizations. Here’s what some of the attendees had to say:

“Met my expectations. Parts of it seemed tailor made for my personal short comings. eg. communication skills, stakeholder management and influencing people.” BP Architect, London, United Kingdom

“For me the SSFEA course provided substantial information and a much deeper understanding of the overall topic. It will be a great help in day to day work, not only in the area of Enterprise Architecture.” Armin Kress, Sud-Chemie, Munich

Open Group TOGAF® Certification Update

Congratulations to the 159 individuals who obtained TOGAF 9 certification during the period of May 30 – June 27, 2011.

The Open Group reports “Certifications within the TOGAF 9 program are currently growing at over 1,000 individuals per quarter. As of June 3 there were 7,200 individuals certified from more than 50 countries.

Here is a look at TOGAF 9 certification numbers* from the top 10 countries:

UK 1297 Canada 344
Netherlands 959 India 328
USA 897 Finland 316
Australia 608 France 230
South Africa 399 Sweden 208

*represents individuals who have elected to have their certification made public.

Architecting the Enterprise team members are available to answer any questions you may have on TOGAF training and certification. Detailed information on the TOGAF 9 exam can be found on the Open Group website as follows:

TOGAF 9 Part 1
TOGAF 9 Part 2
TOGAF 9 Combined Part 1 and 2

If you would like to receive our newsletter direct to your email each month, SUBSCRIBE HERE – we look forward to sharing new and exciting articles next month!

Leanne MacDonald for the AtE Team

New Technical Report – Exploring the Synergies Between TOGAF® and Frameworx

Saturday, May 28th, 2011

Recently, a joint team of The Open Group and TM Forum members announced the availability of a new technical report exploring the synergies between the TM Forum Frameworx and TOGAF® specifications.

Frameworx is an industry-specific framework to organize, specify, design and develop new generation management systems and provides a standard method, common terminology and focuses on the architectural content of the telecommunication industry processes, applications, data and the related services.

TOGAF® is an architecture framework supporting The Open Group’s vision of Boundaryless Information Flow, and focuses on the methodology of developing and managing enterprise architecture. Both frameworks complement each other and they can benefit from each others strengths.

TOGAF is complemented by considering the Telemanagement Forum assets as an exemplar and these can be generalized into re-usable assets by other industries.

Service providers considering adoption of the Telemanagement Forum standards can leverage their investment by adopting TOGAF 9 to enhance the architecture governance, its comprehensiveness and sustainability.

The telecommunication industry typically deals with Business Services, Service Creation, Service Contracts, Next Generation Services and Service Implementation in their business to provide the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) services. These services are being developed in an environment of an enterprise architecture mostly developed on the basis of Frameworx by the Telemanagement Forum.

Frameworx is not the only framework that is used in this industry sector. Very often other tools, such as ITIL, COBIT, Six Sigma, TOGAF and others are used cooperatively. Especially when talking about Enterprise Architecture, Frameworx and TOGAF are mentioned very often in the Telecommunication Industry.

Exploring the Synergies Between TOGAF and Frameworx

This situation automatically raises a very important and valid question:

How does Frameworx work together with other Frameworks, such as TOGAF and why should we think about it?

To identify the synergies of using both Frameworx and TOGAF, The Telemanagement Forum and members of the Open Group established a joint Collaboration Team. This joint team, to which Danny Weinberger of Architecting the Enterprise was a major contributor, has recently completed a technical report including a Quick Reference Guide.

Some of the key features are:

- Optimal development of an enterprise architecture by using both frameworks

- The TOGAF Architecture Development Method (ADM) provides a step by step approach for developing an enterprise architecture using Frameworx as a reference architecture

- Useful Guidelines and Techniques of TOGAF support the development of an enterprise architecture using Frameworx by providing a methodology for them.

- The TOGAF Architecture Repository can smoothly accommodate the mapping of Frameworx assets.

- The criteria for the tool selection suggested by TOGAF also supports selection of appropriate BSS/OSS tools.

- Deploying an optimal Architecture Capability to establish and consolidate the architecture function.

The 110 page full report, Exploring Synergies between TOGAF® and Frameworx, is available on the Open Group website.

Congratulations to the Open Group, TM Forum, and Architecting the Enterprise’s own Danny Weinberger, on the completion of this report. If you’d like to contact Danny with any questions on the report, kindly email him at: [email protected]

Leanne MacDonald for the AtE Team

Going to The Open Group London Conference?

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

Open Group London

If you have plans to attend The Open Group London conference next week, May 9 -11, 2011, we hope to see you there!

While we are definitely looking forward to the Tuesday evening dinner event at the Tower of London, during the day, we will be busy attending sessions and are looking forward to contributing to the agenda with the following presentations:

In the SOA Track, Judith Jones, is presenting:
Innovation with SOA

Ed Harrington will be co-presenting:
Using TOGAF to Define and Govern Service Oriented Architectures – A New Technical Guide

In the Case Study Track, Serge Thorn will be presenting:
Solution Architecture and TOGAF 9

If you would like to meet the AtE team, please stop by our table in the sponsor area – we’ll have experts available to discuss your Enterprise Architecture needs and are happy to answer any questions you may have on our new Soft Skills for Enterprise Architects (SSFEA) course!

We look forward to meeting you at the event, but if you can’t make it, watch this blog for a link to where you can access the presentations afterwards.

Greg LeRoux for the AtE team

Governance and Stakeholder Management – Key Steps to EA Empowerment

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

Ian ColeConstant transformation is a business imperative as globalisation, innovation and economic conditions drive the pace of change in markets worldwide. Moreover, IT systems are increasingly central to achieving enhanced levels of business performance. However, the track record of success in such business transformation programmes and complex IT projects is poor.

Clearly, the use of frameworks, methodologies and proven best practices (e.g. TOGAF®) will improve success rates by providing both process and structure for a systematic and coordinated approach to using these best practices. However, a significant amount of failure can be ascribed to human behaviour, ranging from poor motivation, insufficient understanding and buy-in, through to lack of discipline in using formal approaches. The effective use of an EA framework requires coordinated and disciplined behaviour driven by common goals, with effective collaboration around a shared information base. Leadership and communication are both important; however, they will only be effective in empowering appropriate enterprise behaviour if used in conjunction with a clear governance model and a formalised approach to stakeholder management.

Governance determines how leaders formally translate strategy into action via formal processes for decision making with roles, responsibilities and accountabilities allocated to appropriate people in the context of an EA framework. The root of authority for EA governance is vested in an architecture board comprised of senior sponsors and leaders from business and IT. They are responsible for ensuring that a disciplined approach is followed, driven by clear business goals and ROI, resulting in a coherent architectural vision, description of target end state and the roadmap for getting there. These decisions are propagated through the rest of the governance structure to engage various enterprise stakeholders who will deliver the desired business and IT solutions.

Stakeholder resistance is a key source of programme failure and so it is important to employ a systematic and coordinated approach to gain their support and keep them informed of progress.  Stakeholder management and communication complements governance to ensure that those responsible for the business-IT transformation are properly motivated and understand what they need to do to ensure overall success. Steps are as follows:

  1. Identify stakeholders: Who are they? Why are they important and what is their potential impact? What are their key concerns and requirements for EA transformation?
  2. Classify stakeholder positions: How are stakeholders disposed to the proposed transformation, either supportive or resistant? What are their agenda and key priorities? What are their main personality characteristics and behaviours, capabilities and appetite for risk?
  3. Stakeholder management approach: what are the key strategies for harnessing support and mitigating resistance? What are the key stories and value propositions associated with each of these strategies?
  4. Tailor engagement deliverables: Who is responsible for communicating to stakeholders via what channels? What is the timetable and objectives for communication and which stories and value propositions should be used?

In conclusion, stakeholder management and communications, in conjunction with strong sponsorship and a clear governance structure, are both areas critical to successful business transformation using an EA framework.

Ian Cole for the AtE Team

Learn more about Soft Skills for Enterprise Architects!