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More Questions than Answers

by Jeff Scott, on Jul 19, 2016 8:16:41 AM

Fiver_more_questions.pngWhile management’s interest in business architecture continues to accelerate, business architects still struggle for visibility and support. Their major challenge is not how to build better models but how to overcome cultural and political resistance to become relevant to the leadership team. The path forward is rarely clear as we have so few successful role models to follow. At each step, business architects are faced with a new set of vexing questions.

Design and startup. Do I establish business architecture as a program, a centralized service, a decentralized role, or a methodology? Do I hire for business experience, modeling experience, enterprise architecture experience, or something else altogether? Are there proven industry best practices that can be followed? How do I convince my leadership to give me enough runway to succeed? Exactly what is business architecture anyway?

Build and maintain. What tools and techniques are available to me and how do I learn to use them? How do I demonstrate my value contribution when I mostly work through others? How do I influence those outside of my organization? Who do I partner or collaborate with? How do I address my internal competitors for management mindshare? What does a well-run business architecture practice look like?

Grow and mature. How do I build credibility with the C-suite? How do I integrate myself into the organization’s most important initiatives? How do I deal with longstanding cultural norms of operations? How do I incorporate business architecture into the fabric of the organization? What does a long-term, sustainable business architecture success look like?

While the majority of business architecture initiatives struggle with these and other questions, a small but growing number have been able to secure broad organizational support and grow their influence. What sets these successful architects apart from pack? 

1. They realize that each business architecture practice is unique. They work to create a practice in tune with their organization’s leadership interests and cultural context.
2. They realize that models are simply a means to an end. The real challenge is convincing organizational leaders at all levels to strategize and plan differently. The challenge isn’t modelling it is influence.
3. They focus on strategic issues rather than operational improvements. Operational improvements are necessary, but senior leaders are looking for more.

The bottom line:_________________________________________________________________
Each business architect has to find his or her own unique path to success. Knowing what other teams are doing is helpful, but their situation is almost certainly different. Standards can be helpful guides but rarely provide templates for success.
 
 

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