Do you go to work and think, I’m surrounded by idiots? We are trying to do a project, and there is a disconnect between each of the groups that you work with. Some think the direction should be one way, others another, and yet more groups, further options still. When will it end, why is this happening, and how did you end up on the godforsaken project in the first place? It seemed so easy when I was first asked.
Every day might not start that way, in fact, none might, but you just don’t understand why everyone doesn’t get on the same page. You might think it’s that business just doesn’t understand IT, and it’s more complicated a problem than they think, or what they believe with their limited knowledge that you can use a particular technology, except that technology is not fit for purpose, or there are much easier ways.
What Is The Answer?
Well, I was going to just give you the answer, but where would the fun be in that? Is it that you need a bunch of architecture diagrams to explain what you mean? Then they will get it? Do you need to do some sort of a proof of concept, to indicate how it should work?
Fundamentally these things should work, but you may well run into similar problems into the future, and require another similar effort, that is both time-consuming, and time could be better spent elsewhere.
The problem is likely to be because each group, department, or enterprise has its own set of drivers, it’s own problems that it believes it needs to overcome, and it’s own motives, which may be down to individuals, or to current problems that exist in the current systems.
What is the Real Problem?
The real problem is that the senior management has not correctly communicated their vision to the rest of the company, and thus affected the culture. It is quite likely that each department believes they are doing everything for the good or the enterprise or organization, even if it pulls in the opposite direction to other departments or enterprises. A strong message on the strategy, goals, and drivers, and how those related to the culture, and how decisions are made will help but is not the bigger picture.
Imagine that every department or enterprise knows the strategy, goals, and driver for the organization, but then is left to do their own thing. They may all work together and come up with a solution that fits all, however it is more likely that stronger personalities will win through and progress will be made in one area at the cost of the other. For this to be balanced out, there would need to be strong leadership to explain what is required. That again might work, but it’s unlikely.
How do we fix it?
The architectures that are emerging through the development of architectures must all be addressing those strategies, goals, and drivers. The grouping of what order in which work is undertaken should be done in collaboration with all the departments, and the mapping of these risks, and the value delivered should be seen across all the enterprises or departments and grouped accordingly.
Ultimately that means that you need somebody who has knowledge of all the systems and can see and relate the common aspects of those systems to one another, as well as understanding the inherent risks, and the value gained from achieving those business outcomes.
What Do We Need?
What I have just described is an enterprise architecture, and them being driven by business outcomes, are also known as capabilities. Given this high level of principles, and guidance, each of the departments or enterprises can go away as before but work together with a common goal.
Enterprise architecture can be very effective when deployed this way to guide, and shape team thinking, whilst still allowing the skills and experience of the teams to be used effectively.
Without that guidance, a lot of time will be spent in-fighting, going in the wrong directions, missing requirements, and not fulfilling the strategic goals and drivers of the business.