“Force Generation” Architecture: Sustain and support

Bas van Gils and Martin van Battum
Posted by Bas van Gils and Martin van Battum on May 15, 2013

Enterprise Architecture

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Ready for the end of the mission? In our articles so far we covered and discussed the different stadia of development in ‘Force Generation’ Architecture: cold phase, transition phase and warm phase


Sustain and support, as part of “Force Generation” Architecture

Cold Phase

In the cold phase, a significant part of the recruits will not make the end of the basic training due to mental or physical confrontation with their shortcomings. Aftercare is needed as a responsibility of the employer towards the employee. And with respect to equipment, modification programs are set up based on first experiences with the new material. In case of a new capability doctrine, as a military framework, has not been put to ‘the live test of deployment’ and is only subject to peacetime adjustments.

Transition phase

All_kinds_of_supportIn the transition phase, as the pressure rises, support for personnel and equipment is intensified to prepare for deployment. Logistic programs become operational including specific supply and maintenance routines and family readiness programs are activated for personnel stability. Depending on the area of deployment, a wide variety of medical preparations of high standards are needed.

All kinds of support

Warm phase

Lessons_learned_Jay Neely http://socialstrategist.comIn the warm phase, after a full period of operational commitment, the troops are relieved from field duty, allowed to recover and are re-united with their families. Due to extensive use worn out equipment must be replaced or seriously maintained. Unit rotation is a way to prevent attrition. Hence, a capability performing rotations needs a size that is able to generate enough manpower and equipment to train, fight and recover. In a rhythm over time that also enables development of experience and know-how.

The warm phase is also the ultimate basis for lessons learned. It delivers feedback about the operation as a whole, the capability, troops, doctrine and equipment. This concerns all phases, from initial setup in the cold phase through transition to the warm phase and actual deployment. If conducted seriously it contributes to the quality of the organization. To emphasize the point, in an earlier post we mentioned a quote from Liddell Hart: “there’s nothing more difficult getting a new idea into a military mind than getting an old one out”. 

The architecture case

So, let us see how our architecture capability deals with rotations, prolonged deployment and lessons learned in our case and end this series. 

The ‘sustain and support’ function for Enterprise Architecture (EA) might be a little different from what we have just seen. In fact, it may very well be that this is where the metaphor breaks down: is there such a thing such as support during the build-up of the architecture capability (cold phase), preparation for doing architecture work (transition phase) or even during the actual architecture work (warm phase)? There might be, but often this is not made explicit. 

During the cold and transition phase (which roughly map to phase P in the TOGAF sense), it is mostly the sponsoring organization that takes care of support. Think, for example, about freeing up (human) resources for starting the architecture team in the first place, endorsing the architecture way of thinking, or freeing up funds to buy modelling tools / training, etc. 

Especially when starting big(ger) engagements, it may be necessary to reconsider resources that are available to the architecture team. Ultimately this may lead to hiring extra “hands” or “expertise” from consultants. Similarly, most other forms of ‘support’ will also come from the sponsoring organization: the (socio-political) lay of the land and ever changing priorities may cause serious issues for the architecture team. These issues will have to be resolved and typically this cannot be done by the architecture team itself. 

The warm phase is another story. Remember, this is the phase where we develop the architecture – which is separate from the phase where we implement it. During this phase, support means: make sure the architecture team gets what it needs to do its job properly. Whether architects should be ‘relieved from duty’ after 6 months of engagement is a matter of debate, but still: monitoring how effective architects are, and whether they need (additional) help is something organizations should do more. 

As in the military, the need for an after action review to document lessons learned should not be taken lightly. In practice we see that a lot of manpower and resources are spent by repeating mistakes that could have been prevented by learning from past experience.



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