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Accelare is sponsoring the first ever Midwest Architecture Community Collaboration (MACC) conference on November 13th, 2014 at the McNamara Alumni Center in Minneapolis. I will be delivering one of three keynotes on the topic of Building a Sustainable Architecture Practice.

We all know starting either a business architecture or enterprise architecture program is difficult. For most who have been through an architecture startup it is the hardest thing they have ever done. The reality is sustaining a practice for the long run is even tougher.

Is your architecture program sustainable? Will it be here ten years from now? Next year? How about next month? Often the approaches we take to establish architecture credibility are the very things that inhibit longer-term success.

To be viable over the long run, architects must move beyond their initial startup approaches to design an operating model that will carry them into the future, creating higher levels of influence and business impact. This often requires giving up cherished beliefs about architecture, our role as architects, and how things “should” work and responding more directly to the needs of the organization.     

More about the MACC conference:

This inaugural event hosted by the Midwest Architecture Community Collaboration features practical ways to help you, whether you're an Architect, Technology Leader or Business Leader, share the business significance of architecture for the modern enterprise. The cost is only $79 and includes a morning reception, lunch, keynotes, track sessions, happy hour reception and a birds-of-a-feather session featuring a panel on privacy and security.

You can find more information and register here: www.midwestacc.com

Keynote Presenters:

  • Jeff Scott, VP Business and Technology Strategy at Accelare: BUILDING A SUSTAINABLE ARCHITECTURE PRACTICE
  • Allen Brown, CEO at The Open Group: THE SIGNIFICANCE OF ARCHITECTURE FOR THE MODERN ENTERPRISE
  • Paul Preiss, CEO and Founder of IASA: COGNITIVE COMPUTING IN TODAY’S WORLD

Breakout Session Tracks:

Leading & Learning -- Architects, no matter the domain, need to understand strategic intention and be able to lead organizations and people.  This track focuses on developing and enhancing leadership skills for architects, their managers, and other organizational leaders wishing to leverage architecture to deliver results.

Innovation -- To be successful and compete in today’s marketplace, organizations need to focus on innovation.  This track spotlights the role of architecture in driving innovation throughout the enterprise. 

Trends, Tools and Technologies -- If the architecture is to create readiness for future organizational success, the architect needs to be on top of what’s new out there.  What is the role of architecture in helping organizations discover and adapt disruptive technologies? What’s exciting and new on the horizon?

Agility and Growth -- Architecture must be on the forefront to help organizations respond rapidly to change at an ever-increasing velocity. The time horizon for adapting to change is shifting from months and years to days and weeks. Architects too must embrace new methods and seek out ways to guide the enterprise in the context of competitive environments, rapid change, and ever-shrinking delivery cycles.

Want to bring a larger group? Contact Jenny at jennyfox@lifescaleanalytics.com to learn about discount rates.

by Jeff Scott
by Jeff Scott

Is Low Hanging Fruit Good for you?

by Jeff Scott

Is Executive Sponsorship Good for You?

by Jeff Scott

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014 @ 11:00am EST   or   Thursday July 31st, 2014 @ 1:00pm EST

Overview

An essential element of leadership is growing the organization’s capability to deliver more value – directly to customers or indirectly though supporting activities. While most leaders have a good idea of what they want the organization to do, they struggle to translate their vision into focused and effective action. Executives need a well-defined process to manage the translation of their vision and strategy into targeted, synchronized execution – a strategy-to-execution process. When business architects design, implement, and optimize this process, organizational performance increases exponentially. This webinar will provide a process framework for clarifying vision, translating it into crisp strategies, creating a capability based operating model, identifying the capability enhancements required for strategy realization, and identifying the investment roadmap that creates the most value for the organization

In this webinar, you will learn:

  • Why strategies die early deaths
  • How to focus your organization on the work that matters most
  • A framework for strategy-to-execution management
by Jeff Scott

You can see the presentation here

 

The bottom line:_________________________________________________________________

Strategy doesn’t just happen. You have to work at it, and work at it really hard. The difficult work isn’t coming up with the strategy. The hard part is getting the organization to buy in and actively support it. Without a well-defined and manage strategy to execution process, this is almost impossible

by Jeff Scott
by Jeff Scott
by Jeff Scott

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014 @ 11:00am EST    or   Thursday June 26th, 2014 @ 1:00pm EST

Overview

An essential element of successful organizations is growing the organization’s capability to deliver more value – directly to customers or indirectly though supporting activities. While most leaders have a good idea of what they need their organizations to do, they struggle to translate their vision into focused and effective action. As their strategies move across and down the organization, they become distorted, resulting in diluted business impact and wasted resources. Why do good strategies go bad? There are many reasons including poor definition, insufficient communication, ambiguous ownership, and a general lack of a strategy execution process. This session will provide techniques for clarifying strategic intent, translating it into crisp, clearly articulated strategies, and translating those strategies into impactful action. We will provide both top down and bottom up approaches to kick-start your effort.

In this webinar, you will learn:

  • The five reasons good strategies go bad
  • How to clearly articulate strategies
  • Why strategy-to-execution management is key
by Jeff Scott

High Performance CarI have been doing a lot of thinking lately about organizations, culture, leadership, and performance. Recently I spoke at the ISM conference in Las Vegas on The Elusive High Performance Organization. (And they are very elusive indeed.) I was asked to speak on this topic because a number of years ago I created what I think most people would agree was a high performance organization even though it wasn’t necessarily what most people have in mind when they hear the term. And this led to my first challenge.

Defining a true high performance organization is difficult. When we think about personal or organizational performance, we tend to see it as a linear scale – bad, good, better, best – or something similar. This is an appropriate way to look at productivity, which is the primary way we measure both organizations and people, but high performance organizations do not just product more, they produce “different”. I chose not to give my audience a definition but instead lead them through a guided imagery exercise to experience what it feels like. Here is a first attempt to put high performance organizations into perspective.

Non-performing organizations. A non-performing organization is not meeting the basic requirements of its charter. These organizations are rarely found in line functions that play a direct role in product or service delivery. Non-performing organizations in this group are quickly remediated. Most non-performing organizations are found in support organizations such as IT, HR, Strategy, PMO, etc. Unfortunately EA and business architecture can fall into this group if they fail to provide recognized value. These organizations are often working hard, just not getting the results they need. The leaders of these organizations typically know they have a problem and are continually struggling to solve it. When they fail, the entire function is frequently eliminated, often to be resurrected again a few years later.

Performing organizations. This category represents the majority of organizations. Performing organizations meet expectations, period. They set reasonable and sometimes unreasonably low goals then build a plan to perform slightly better. People in these organizations work hard and strive to become more efficient at delivery but they expect to stay within the hours of a typical workweek. The leaders of these organizations are not highly engaged with the larger organization and are not ambitious. They are comfortable with their role and manage their groups largely to not be noticed. Their approach is to keep their heads down, deliver just a little more than expected, and not screw up.

Well-performing organizations. These organizations produce significantly more than their original remit and frequently take on assignments above and beyond their goals. They are able to accomplish this by becoming highly efficient at their core tasks creating extra time to apply to other opportunities. They also work longer hours than the performing organizations and sometimes very long hours. These organizations are noticed and respected by both managers and peers. The leaders of these organizations are engaged and ambitious. They want to be recognized and move up the organization.

High performance organizations. Notice I changed the wording here. That is intentional, as these groups are not just focused on performing more, they are performing “different”. High performance organizations are not simply efficient – they are highly effective. Frequently they are not efficient at all. High performance organizations meet their remit, but often in unexpected ways. They also go beyond their original charter to deliver other value add products and services that were not expected of them. In these organizations, the entire staff is engaged and willing to work long hours when necessary, but also scale back when it is not. The leaders are highly ambitious but interestingly do not necessarily want to move up. They like what they are doing and want to make their organizations larger so they can do more of it.

The bottom line:_________________________________________________________________

High performance organizations are very rare. Most people have never experienced one up close though many of today’s web-based companies such as Google and Facebook are probably in that category. Most organizations are so efficiency focused with so many unengaged employees they cannot even conceive of a high performance model.

by Jeff Scott

Gallup’s extensive research shows that, on average, only 33% of employees are actively engaged in their organization’s success. So what are the other 67% doing? Most are more or less doing what they are told, but 18% are actively working against the organization’s success. And you wonder why we find it so hard to create high performance organizations!

The real question is why? Gallup also has an answer for this. It’s your boss! The number one contributor to engagement/disengagement is who you work for. Is this a surprise to you? I bet not. We all have been there. When I think about all the people I have worked for – and there have been quite a few - there have been very few who were truly inspiring. To be brutally honest, there were very few who would even make it to the ranks of “not bad”. So what is it that leaders do that makes such a big difference?

To find out, watch Simon Sinek’s TED video, Why Good Leaders Make You Feel Safe. It is only 12 minutes and is worth every one of them. Sinek doesn’t give you a laundry list of good leadership attributes. He gets right to the heart of what leadership is all about – and how organizations respond to true, authentic leaders.

The bottom line:_________________________________________________________________

While it is easy to complain about our bosses and their collective lack of leadership, the more important question is, “what type of leaders are WE?” You don’t need to be a CEO or even a manager to lead others. When you start acting like a leader, others follow.

by Jeff Scott
DashboardI have been working on a business architecture practice dashboard to help BA leaders manage and grow their practice. The dashboard contains three basic metric types: impact, value, and activity. Each type provides valuable insight into business architecture’s performance and organizational impact. In this post, I focus on value contribution metrics.

Value contribution metrics report the overall value the business architecture initiative delivers in bottom-line, financial terms. Some of the measures report quantifiable data while others report estimated value. Value contribution measures are the most difficult measures to develop. Quantifiable financial measures are not readily available for the majority of the work business architecture performs such as strategy clarification, capability assessments, or road mapping. Unfortunately, most of the clearly quantifiable measures are the result of more tactical work than business architects aspire to focus on.

The challenge with the measures in this metric set is getting stakeholders to agree with the estimation process. There are two parts to the process. The first part is determining actual outcome value and the second part is allocating value to all of the participants. The fewer organizations involved in value delivery, the easier it is to allocate value. The more conservative the estimate, the easier it is to gain stakeholder buy-in. The categories currently defined are:

Quantifiable Financial Value -This metric category is for items where there is little, if any, doubt about the financial value delivered. The items here can be either revenue gains or cost reductions. Cost savings are the predominate measure used here as they are much easier to quantify and capture value from than revenue gains. The value of items in this category are often calculated by others which makes them the most powerful of the value measures in demonstrating business architecture’s contribution.

Estimated Financial Value -This category includes items where business architecture’s value contribution can be estimated and the estimated value is beyond the actual cost incurred. This is where stakeholder buy-in to the estimation process is critical. One estimation method that works well here is to have business architecture clients declare the value of the work performed. For example, a business unit leader might declare the value of a capability assessment to her organization as $200,000 when the actual cost of the effort was $150,000.

Work Effort Contributed -This category provides a way to demonstrate where business architecture is applying its resources when other value capturing methods are not feasible. It reflects the actual, fully loaded cost to the organization of applying business architecture resources to specific activities.

 

The bottom line:_________________________________________________________________

Measuring business architecture success is difficult at best. No one measure or even category of measures will tell the complete story. Bottom line financial value contribution measures are the most difficult to quantify but also the most powerful to exhibit. Creating value estimation models that stakeholders support lays the foundation for creating future buy-in.

by Jeff Scott