JISC Enterprise Architecture Practice Group 26th January 2010

Slightly smaller but enouragingly large group carrying on from FSD meeting yesterday, but with focus on EA.

Kicked off by me with an impassioned – honest! – plea for the importance of EA. Then group discussion on where people are with EA on the maturity model – explorer, adopter, implementer, achiever, practitioner. Mostly explorers, which is both good & not a surprise. Reality: tend to be hovering around all 5 levels at the same time. Fear! Fear of TOGAF, fear of the hugeness of it all, elephant for breakfast etc. TOGAF = like PRINCE2. When digging a hole, the focus should not be on the spade. Back to the Dearing type 42 manager – EA articulates what that kind of leader does. Andy Jordan/Duke & Jordan – EA = a philosophical framework within which the right kind of thinking can be done – spot on.

Is there a danger in EA originating in IT? Is there a danger that IT is seen as driving the business? Is there any difference between IT & the business? Do you worry about aligning the spade with the hole, or do you just dig… Back to the idea of being useful: what does the VC/CEO want? To run a successful University. If EA helps with that, do it. Be useful.

Doing EA – P4; John Townsend/Liverpool John Moores University. Description of a practical problem, project, & programme based approach.

Big EA – John King/Roehampton. 7 steps to EA. No EA project! – exactly. Don’t need a business case for EA – do need a business case for EA awareness. Key problems: Governance & stakeholder buy in. Bonus: modelling.

Run Silent, Run Deep – Paul Hobson/Cardiff. Common theme – address real business change problems. JFDI. Ref http://congliffy.cf.ac.uk/display/LeanEA. Gleaned a lot of intelligence from the Burton Group. Imperial complexity in spades.

Exploring EA – Luke Taylor/Bristol. Scope: supporting process review. Bristol doesn’t see IT as the business -yet. Introducing EA into emerging projects. New Governance structure based round Strategic Programme Board – Programme Management structure, really = home for EA.

Followed by brief but interesting breakout discussions – but surfacing the usual problems/issues – not sure we got any nearer to any solutions. Learn by doing = MOTD.

Introduction to Modelling – Yvonne Howard/Southampton. Modelling is a spectrum of activity, from soft to hard. How do you tell a well socialised software engineer? They talk to your shoes. Modelling enables conversation. Not really for me, as I don’t/won’t do any actual modelling – shame the business analysts who do aren’t here. Interesting point ref audience for FSD/EAPG activity. SSM – hasn’t popped up for a little while. Could be interesting/beneficial to introduce VPEC-T into this conversation.

& on reflection from the train back to Liverpool…

Overall good event, although I felt today/EA was better than yesterday/FSD. Latter seemed more amorphous/harder to get hold of, although maybe this is the nature of the beast – EA is a tool, FSD is an outcome – or rather a wide range of possible outcomes dependent on the context/strategy/objectives etc. Words like agile, flexible, lean are great but low on tangibility. Perhaps FSD would benefit from some further application of MSP ie a blueprint, a future vision state, a definition of what FSD will look like when we get there. I think the business case is made, at least within the Programme – just going to be hard to make the journey to a place lacking definition. Or maybe that’s the point – the journey will define the destination. Starting to sound like rambling to me – or me rambling.

Also interesting discussion over lunch about need for flexibility/dynamic architecture or development without architecture/the expansion of end-user computing/the need to create whitespace/the need for the IT department to just say yes. End user computing as a response to the need to cut costs in central IT. Sounds good to me. In fact, hold on to your hats, it sounds like a paradigm shift! Phasers on stun, and me signing off, before things get ugly.

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