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Kicking Off or Evolving Your Enterprise Architecture (EA) practice.


I’ve been holding off on answering this question (How do I start an EA Practice?) for a while which has been posed from a few of my contacts.  So I thought I would share a few of my experiences…over the past 14 years of being involved in architecture teams.


Top 3 realities:

  1. Architecture teams come and go depending on the Corporate/IT leadership…So hang on 🙂
  2. It typically takes years to mature an internal holistic EA practice
  3. With a little value, leadership will give you more responsibility (and rope)



Starting an EA Practice is a very difficult question to answer and is different for each organization.  The consulting answer is “It depends”…  There is no silver bullet straight out of the gate.  There are only guidelines to follow and generally takes many years to mature an EA practice.   With this in mind, focus on the priorities and value propositions from your sponsors’ and leaderships’ perspective.  This will aid in keeping the EA momentum going so that you can continuously grow the practice.


Here are some steps to consider while strategizing an EA practice?

  1. Self Education: Understand what EA is…Self-educate, take a course, and/orrecruit a reputable consultant. 
  2. Be Prepared: Define your vision of EA which you can incorporate to future strategies, plans & executions.
  3. Probe for value: Ask questions and probe leaders of current pain points in your organization (IT/Business)
  4. Evaluate the Situation: Based on feedback, develop a business proposition, and communication for EA.
  5. Find and educate the Sponsor: Educate the need for EA to a potential sponsor (C-Level, VP, Director,…)
  6. Approval: Get approval to proceed otherwise go to step #1,2,3, or 4.  If you don’t have leaderships blessing or a sponsor…Stop & re-evaluate.
  7. Evaluate current EA: Objectively evaluate the current state of your EA practice focusing on pain points
  8. EA Role: Clarify your role as Chief Enterprise Architect with your sponsor & leadership
  9. EA Leadership Team: Assemble an EA Governance Leadership Team (GLT) and its role
  10. Strategize EA: Collaboratively develop a 3-5 year strategy with the EA GLT and other stakeholders
  11. Prioritize: Prioritize the strategy into yearly executable portions
  12. EA Working Team: Assemble an EA Working Committee and its role (Domain Specialists)
  13. Plan EA: Develop an EA Project plan and schedule for the first executable portion
    1. Include determining a suitable framework and standards to get started
    2. Review the Plan: Review the EA Plan with the EA GLT
    3. Execute & deliver on your promises
    4. Go to Step #5



These are extremely high level steps to start an EA practice and not necessarily true for your organization, however, assuming you have prioritized value-added scope your delivery will gain the momentum required to keep architecture a value add team in your organization.


Darin Paton

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