“Force Generation” Architecture: a case study


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Bas van Gils and Martin van Battum
Posted by Bas van Gils and Martin van Battum on Mar 17, 2015

Enterprise Architecture

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So, you’ve had your training courses and read the relevant books.Your boss has called you and asked: “Now let’s discuss our major concerns. How can we make the architecture approach going to work while everybody is always on the run?”….. Sounds familiar? 

We would like to share our experience in ‘Force Generation’ Architecture’ with you describing a case: how do we get architecture to work?

We will introduce a model - how could it be otherwise? - borrowed from the Defence community[1]. We slightly modified it and applied this to the case.

ForceGenerationArchitecture

“Force Generation” Architecture

We’ll present our case in steps. After the introduction each step will start with presenting the principles of the military approach of force generation. Based on that we then describe how they apply to the case. Let us start this series by introducing the five steps, based on the model. 

Core objectives

To ensure that the contribution of the architecture approach is what one expects, be sure that you know what your organization is all about. What is the “grand plan”? What are the aims and objectives? It is important to understand business drivers and goals as they offer focal points for the architecture engagements. Stakeholders have responsibilities concerning goals and therefore they should be identified to help shape the architecture work to be done. 

Cold Phase

This phase describes the necessary basic preparation to actually meet the needs for an architecture engagement. To put it bluntly: if you want to run, start with crawling, then stand upright and try walking first. The following steps to secure a good start are necessary. 

  • Acquire staff. Simply because you cannot do everything yourself you must delegate work to others. Depending on the agreed interpretation of the architecture engagement you will need to build your team with members that have the required skills. 
  • Select framework and methods. To get your team to work and coach them to cooperation and the proper results, a common accepted methodology and approach is indispensable. 
  • Acquire tools. Once your team starts producing results you will need to capture those. As Powerpoint or Visio has its limitations, and you will want to collect, reuse and distribute results, a future proof solution is needed. 
  • Compose and organize architecture capability. With the right staff, common framework and tools coming up, how do you get them organized for the first architecture engagement? 

Transition phase

With the basics organized, the team now needs to be prepared for action for the first architecture engagement. Proper governance is crucial and relevant, as is a workable relation with the portfolio team. Professional, to-the-point preparation is the keyword here and we will show in this step what preliminary actions can be undertaken. 

Warm Phase

Once the way the architectural frame has been shaped and the way it works has been agreed, the team involved will embark on its first official mission. There are two parts that we will explain in this post.

  1. Deployment. As it is the first mission, you will be faced with a few surprises that will generate discussions in the team. Discussion focussed on what to do and how to proceed. Learning by doing will often be the case! One cannot eat an elephant as a whole; chunking the beast into small parts will make a good start. Governance is of utmost importance to the action as scenario building requires management attention and decision making. Resulting roadmaps and portfolios are subject to interference from current operations and project activities.

  2. Sustainability of the deployment. As involvement grows and other engagements will be experienced, the team must be able and capable to continue its efforts over longer periods of time. 

Sustainability & support

LeveragearchitectureresultsKeep them rolling! Take into account that staff will change and challenges will grow as the architecture function matures and starts to pay off. Measures are needed to document lessons learned and leverage the experience in the new architecture community.

[1] Robert Zweegman – Master of Public Safety – Magazine nationale veiligheid en crisisbeheersing 2014 – nr. 1

quick-start-video-togaf-archimate

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