Gartner EA Summit: Managing the Migration to Your Future State Architecture

Presenter: Scott Bittler, Gartner

Another presentation from Scott, this time over breakfast. The bulk of this talk was focused on the importance of what he termed as “Next State Architecture.” If we have the future state and current state architectures documented, the challenge that exists is if we can’t achieve the future state architecture in one step. If that’s the case, then there’s a gap in the prescriptive guidance needed for project teams. If they know they can’t get to the future state, and don’t have guidance on how they should move from current state, they’re likely to stick with what they know. Good advice.

There were some specific nuggets outside of this core topic that I also wanted to call out. First, he said that the most important EA deliverable is principles, because it’s those principles that lead to consistent decision making. The talk wasn’t focused on this, so he didn’t go into depth, but some examples of these principles would be good. I definitely see the importance in these and agree with his statement. I’ve been in many situations with two (or more) compelling options where we seem to be at a stalemate. The principles need to assist in getting decisions made.

Second, I liked the fact that he said that EA’s role is to provide prescriptive guidance so that appropriate choices are made on projects and programs. This emphasizes the point that I was hoping would be made in his governance talk yesterday. Provide the policies, and anyone can make the right decisions.

Finally, the last comment he made was that with the advent of EA-focused web sites, etc., any team that claims ignorance when confronted with non-compliance (“I didn’t know I was supposed to do that”) is unacceptable in this day. Here, I disagree. I make extensive use of RSS feeds in my work so that I get information pushed to me, but I know many of my colleagues do not. A web site is still a pull-model, and there’s very few people that I know of that have the discipline to regularly check common web sites. EA has to be accountable for the communication effort and ensuring that it gets pushed out to the people who need it. Putting it on a web site isn’t enough. So, this one I disagree with. I think if EA is serious about achieving compliance, then they should be serious about pushing the information out. Create a formal communication plan and execute it.

2 Responses to “Gartner EA Summit: Managing the Migration to Your Future State Architecture”

  • Rob Eamon:

    “I’ve been in many situations with two (or more) compelling options where we seem to be at a stalemate.”

    That reminded me of a guiding principle that has been helpful from time to time. In some cases, it doesn’t matter *which* option is selected. Instead, it matters more that an option be selected. Each option has pros and cons. Pick one and go.

    For example, railroad track width was widely debated. Different widths had differing pros and cons. What made the big difference in “interoperability” and therefore in effectiveness of shipping via rail was the selection of a single width.

  • Exactly. I had originally written that sometimes a principle is what reminds the team that a decision must be made. If we don’t make a decision, the need for direction doesn’t go away, the decision just gets punted to some other team that is less likely to consider some of strategic ramifications of those decisions.

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