Recently, I was contacted via this blog by an individual who had been challenged to set up a new Business Architecture practice within his company’s Enterprise Architecture team. He reached out to me to ask about some books to read and some advice. I’m expanding my message to him here. As always, I’d love to hear your comments and feedback.
You have quite a challenge ahead of you. While it may seem obvious, there are some steps that you need to do first. You have to essentially manage the change that you are bringing to your own organization.
- Value Proposition: Get together with your sponsor and create your charter. This is critical to having a clear goal that you will achieve, and clear measures by which you will achieve them. I cannot underestimate the importance of this step. Do not skip.
- Engagement Model: Create a clear and simple process for deciding what your team will focus on and how you will find the right opportunities to attack. This is your engagement model. Formalize it, and stick to it. You will be pulled in every direction. Clear simple criteria is your only defense against being scattered to the wind.
- Clearly define your service: what deliverables will be produced, and which individual stakeholders are going to be expected to use those deliverables, at what time, to what end.
- Stakeholder buy-in: With the help of your sponsor, meet one on one with each of these key stakeholders and make sure that they understand your value proposition, resources, and process impacts. You may be changing the lives of some key people. Get their buy-in. Be prepared to rewrite the value proposition. The value you deliver must be tied to the needs that they express.
- Scorecard: Hold yourselves accountable. Create a scorecard and use it with your team to demonstrate how progress should occur, and use it with your leaders to show how value has been delivered.
- Staff Training: Send everyone to a training class in Business Architecture… not so that they are all educated, but so that everyone is educated on the same terms, artifacts, and processes. This is the most difficult one to offer advice on because I have not yet found many good options… then again, we have an internal team that has answered the call, so I have not lately looked. Perhaps good options exist.
As far as required reading… specific to the BA practice challenge
The list below is intentionally short. I feel that every member of the team should read each of these books. I placed them in order of usefulness for your task at hand (preparing the staff of a new BA function within an EA team). All are very valuable… but being higher on the list means that I consider the book to be more valuable, sooner, than the ones below.
- “Business Architecture: The Art and Practice of Business Transformation” by Neil McWhorter and William Ulrich
- “Crossing the Chasm” by Geoffrey Moore
- “How to Measure Anything” by Douglas Hubbard
- “Enterprise Architecture as Strategy” Jeanne Ross and Peter Weill
- “Competitive Advantage” and “Competitive Strategy” by Michael Porter
- “Make It Stick” and “Switch” by Chip and Dan Heath
For the team manager, one more book to be read concurrently with the ones above:
- “Business Architecture: An Emerging Profession.” Paul A. Bodine and Jack Hilty
OK… I have probably just angered some of my friends, because I didn’t include all of their books or reference materials in my short list. Please, before you flame me, realize that this response is to a specific individual with a specific problem. The EA team existed, but didn’t have a BA function… what does that tell you? That it is an EITA team, in all likelihood. Is every possible book or resource appropriate for that situation? Probably not. So I selected a small set of valuable books. There are many more out there.