Wednesday, June 12, 2013

EA as Governance Champion

 It is a strategic imperative for EA to become a governance champion,  guide through decision processes and activities. 

Governance is a concept that applies to make decisions where multiple stakeholders need to be taken into account and the usual delegation of management control is not effective.

Governance is one of the most important tasks of EA, as the architect needs to understand how decisions are made in the organization in order to get an impact on EA work. Thus, EA needs to play multiple roles as a complexity master, change agent and governance champion.

1.   Understand the ‘Types’ & Structure of Governance 

EA governance places the political processes for making and enforcing policies into the business realm of the enterprise. There are various "types" of governance:
  • Enterprise Architecture governance deals with how the architecture is developed, managed, shared, monitored, verified, updated, version management, checked for standards compliance, etc. - so the EA governance is a coherent set of rules defined upfront
  • Governance as Components of the EA: Such as business rules, legal requirements (data protection), operational requirements rules, financial compliance - so governance in this instance is items that influence the architecture relationships (or other components options)      
  • IT governance: IT governance is mostly associated with controlling and managing IT in an enterprise - so specific rules that apply to how IT is deployed, serviced, sourced, implemented, etc.     
Governance Structure:

  • Governance is the process to manage business processes. In this regard, governance has a broader discipline than auditing, legal & compliance. Governance should include: Process (or methodology to manage the business process), Governance may also involve Ontology (taxonomy, meta-model., etc) to clarify & manage knowledge or risk 
  • EA should be the process manager - defining and managing the "how" of the governance process.
    - EA as secretary of state: convening various stakeholders to create consensus on technology/business policies and standards
    - EA as secretary of education: not to make curricula, but ensure that resources are aware of new and/or improved organizational assets as they evolve.  
  • Process (Methods), Ontology (Taxonomy, Meta-models), and Governance are plausible ways to understand enterprise complexity. Enterprise becomes more complex than ever, the time has come to rethink traditional approach. In a complex world, in a complex system, in a complex domain it's impossible to change rightly or having a good governance model without having:
    - a holistic view,
    - an outside-in perspective
    - an agile approach to EA  

2.   EA Enforces Enterprise Governance 

Governance is crucial in clarifying accountability for decision making and risk management is equally crucial for establishing the mechanism for those decisions. EA feeds with both risk management and strategy to build the execution map; this execution map is built out of differentiating capabilities enterprise-wide, and these capabilities are assets to this particular organization because EA designs them on that purpose. EA is strategic within the enterprise landscape. EA, by design, is not IT-centric but enterprise-centric. Though it has been practiced more often only within the IT landscape because of its origins within IT during the early days.

Establish EA governance, both within IT and enterprise landscape. Within the IT landscape, EA governance exists generally at two levels.
(1). EA Governance Board – Reports to IT Executive Steering Committee
(2). Enterprise Architecture Review Board – Led by Chief Architect and reports to EA Governance Board 

EA is at an overall strategic level for the entire business across all domains. Classically, EA is more aligned to the business of an enterprise and is responsible for providing methods, tools, and guidelines to meet business objectives. EA should not only focus on IT but should consider an enterprise in totality. The confusion arises because, in most of the cases,  EA is considered to be part of IT infrastructure. 

Though EA should not only be part of the IT governance equation. EA and IT Governance need to go hand-in-hand. EA roadmaps are one of many inputs into a mature IT portfolio management process which is part of IT Governance. Both are sub-optimized without the other. IT governance is at a lower level and deals with the detailed rules for implementing IT solutions to the functional level requirements coming from the EA.

Consideration of your current governance maturity (where you are today and how far / fast you might change things), coupled with a good definition of roles / responsibilities wrapped around governance processes help EA (or the EA function) to plug in and have impact/influence. A closer approach is to recognize a double-inheritance:
- EA governance devolves from enterprise governance
- EA defines architecture principles for the whole enterprise
- IT governance also devolves from enterprise governance
- IT architecture governance is an intersection of IT governance and enterprise-wide architecture principles
- IT architecture governance includes service-architecture, solution-architecture and technology-optimization 

  1. Governance= “"Superior Management"

A Governance Model is an Architectural description that addresses the concerns of the stakeholders of an enterprise who want to ensure that EXECUTION is aligned with INTENT. To that end, a governance model illustrates the governance processes that are used to govern specific activities and establish decision rights, and illustrates the mechanisms of escalation and resolution used to make decisions. 

Governance = Accountability for decisions and assignment of authority to the appropriate managers. From there it should include the delegation and assignment of responsibilities for carrying out the successful execution of assignments.

Governance= Superior Management: The vision/idea is executed successfully with the methodical and valuable assessment to eliminate major risks associated with cost, time and resources. Process and procedures help eliminate poor delivery.

Some Governance= "Mediocre Management": The vision/idea may be executed successfully but the value of the idea is worthless to the company and can be a detriment.

No Governance= "Poor Management": Some process and no procedures create chaos for operations, and other delivery groups. Chaos! It may work well for startup but when the company and the various organizations grow, it becomes a nightmare!

Therefore, EA is the change agent to enable and make the most of organizational change. EA has a unique position to provide innovation to the enterprise because it comprehends process change as well as emerging technologies. It is a strategic imperative for EA to become a governance champion,  guide through decision processes and activities. This combination allows EA to both reduce the risk and improve the reward, of all scales of organizational change


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