Blog Posts Enterprise Architecture (EA)

The Enterprise Architect is no Project Manager though it can be

It is said that Enterprise Architecture is a tool for transformation. it is among other things. Without an EA, a transformation is blind. It does not see the objects around and in its path. Thus, the transformation bumps into them or it fails to see them at all. Yet,  transformations did and do happen though without the enterprise architecture in place.

EA, nevertheless, adds structure to the transformation. It enables a thorough scoping, better decision making, a reliable work breakdown…

The Enterprise Architect is in charge of EA discovery, structuring, documentation and design while the Project Manager is responsible for planning, monitoring and reporting of a specific subsequent transformation. 

An Enterprise Architecture supports, if updated, any and many transformations, each with its own Project Manager.

The architect structures the description of the enterprise, establishes principles for change and evolution, standards for technologies, the roadmap… with the final aim to enable change, decision making and manage, if not reduce, the unnecessary and costly complexity and variation in the enterprise.

The PM, having been given the architecture, dependencies, roadmap, risks, the work breakdown, skills and resources necessary and deliverables and acceptance criteria has to come up with a project plan and iterate it until the schedule, resources and costs are all coming together. The PM has then to monitor and report progress, bottlenecks, risks eventuation, organise meetings..

Yet, I’ve seen recently the Head of EA/BA position occupied by an IT Project Manager. This seems to be the very premise for failure. It is hard to imagine the EA succeed when the enterprise and business architects, having to report to the Project Manager type, must hold the PM’s hand so that (s)he leads them in return to develop the EA.

The PM is the administrative secretary of a project team who has to facilitate the work of the professionals rather than tell them what to do and how they should break down the work. Hence, while the Project Manager has own role in a transformation, (s)he is no Enterprise Architect.

How would a PM be able to coach an EA team, as a manager would do, or make decisions related to EA structure and content?  How could a project manager lead a scientific endeavour?  

The PM has to administer a transformation while the EA architect has to develop the EA. No PM can manage an EA effort. An EA can manage  though a project or transformation, if required.

Some time ago, it used to be popular a representation of the strategy, Program Management and Enterprise Architecture scopes as circles which were intersecting in the middle. The strategy drew the direction of evolution, the transformation implemented it as a project portfolio and the EA revealed the structure of the enterprise transformation while setting standards and principles for change.

It is said that top management prefers PMs in the lead because they have good communications skills. That may be so because PMs are usually rounded individuals. But they do not master the profession or are able to innovate … They are not the visionaries that create the difference, the value.  They are no leaders. They are administrators. 

If the EA/BA head positions are now occupied by Project Managers, who is going to lead the enterprise towards the All Digital future? PMs won’t be able to recognize the opportunities, integrate them in one whole or see the vision.

But it appears that today, under the EA umbrella, take place too many common IT activities bar the very development of the coherent, consistent and integrated enterprise blueprint. Hence PMs manage the work.

The EA title has been hijacked. Equally so, the title of Business Architect that has been taken over by Business Analysts.   

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