Tag Archives: professional development

Why We Like ArchiMate®

What Are Your Thoughts?

By Allen Brown, President & CEO of The Open Group

This year marks the 30th anniversary of my class graduation from the London Business School MBA program. It was 3 years of working full-time for Unilever and studying every minute possible, and tackling what seemed to be impossible case studies on every subject that you would have to deal with when managing a business.

One of the many core subjects was “Operations Management”: organizing people, materials and technology into an efficient unit. The first thing we were taught was that there are no rules, only pressures and opportunities. The next thing was that there are no boundaries to what can have an impact on the subject: from macro issues of structure and infrastructure to micro issues of marketing, capabilities, location, motivation and much more. It required a lot of analysis and a lot of thinking around realistic solutions of how to change the “now” state.

To support this, one of the techniques we were taught was modeling. There was one case study that I recall was about a small company of less than 150 personnel engaged in the manufacture and development of fast sea-based transport. As part of the analysis I modeled the physical flow system which covered all aspects of the operation from sales to customer feedback and from design to shipment – all in pencil and all on one page. An extract is shown here.

By Allen Brown, President & CEO, The Open Group

I don’t know if it’s just me but that looks very similar to some ArchiMate® models I have seen. OK there is not a specific box or symbol for the actors and their roles or for identifying processes but it is clear, who is responsible what, the function or process that they perform and the information or instructions they pass to or receive from their colleagues.

So it should not be surprising that I would like ArchiMate®, even before it became a standard of The Open Group and by the same token many people holding senior positions in organizations today, have also been through MBA programs in the past, or some form of executive training and as such would be familiar with the modeling that I and my classmates were taught and would therefore easily understand ArchiMate models.

Since graduating, I have used modeling on many occasions to assist with understanding of complex processes and to identify where problems, bottlenecks, delays and unnecessary costs arise. Almost everyone, wherever they are in the organization has not only understood them but also been able to improve them, with the possible exception of software developers, who still needed UML and BPMN.

An ArchiMate Focus Group

A few months ago I got together with some users of ArchiMate to try to understand its appeal to others. Some were in large financial services businesses, others were in healthcare and others were in consulting and training organizations.

The first challenge, of course, is that different people, in different situations, with different roles in different organizations in different countries and continents will always see things differently. In The Open Group there are more than 300,000 people from over 230 different countries; nearly one third of those people identify themselves as “architects”; and of those “architects” there are more than 3,400 job titles that contain the word architect. There are also more than 3,500 people who identify themselves as CEO, nearly 5,500 CIO’s etc.

So one size definitely will not fit all and neither will a single statement produced by a small number of people sat in a room for a day.

So what we did was to focus mostly on a senior executive in a major financial services company in the United States whose team is responsible for maintaining the business capability map for the company. After that we tested the results with others in the financial services industry, a representative from the healthcare industry and with an experienced consultant and trainer.

Ground Rules for Feedback

Now, what I would like to get feedback on is your views, which is the reason for writing this blog. As always there are some ground rules for feedback:

  • Please focus on the constructive
  • Please identify the target audience for the messages as closely as you can: e.g. job title / type; industry; geographic location etc

With those thoughts in mind, let me now share what we have so far.

The Value of ArchiMate

For the person that we initially focused on, he felt that The Open Group ArchiMate® Standard is the standard visual language for communicating and managing the impact of change. The reasons behind this are that it bridges between strategy, solutions and execution and it enables explicit communication.

The value of bridging between strategy, solutions and execution is recognized because it:

  • Accelerates value delivery
  • Integrates between disciplines
  • Describes strategic capabilities, milestones and outcomes

Enabling explicit communication is realized because it:

  • Improves understanding at all levels of the organization
  • Enables a short time to benefit
  • Is supported by leading tool vendors

A supporting comment from him was that ArchiMate enables different delivery approaches (e.g. waterfall, agile). From a modeling point of view the diagrams are still the same, but the iteration cycles and utilization of them become very different in the agile method. Interesting thought.

This is obviously different from why I like ArchiMate but also has some similarities (e.g. easily understood by anyone) and it is a perfect example of why we need to recognize the differences and similarities when communicating with different people.

So when we asked others in the financial services whether they agreed or not and to tell us why they like ArchiMate, they all provided great feedback and suggested improvements. They identified two groups

  • The CEO, CIO, Business Analyst and Business Architect; and
  • Areas of business support and IT and Solution Architects and System Analysts.

All agreed that The Open Group ArchiMate® Standard is the standard visual language. Where they varied was in the next line. For the CEO, CIO, Business Analyst and Business Architect target audience the value of ArchiMate, was realized because:

  • It is for modeling the enterprise and managing its change
  • It can support strategic alignment and support impact analysis

Instead of “enabling explicit communication” others preferred the simpler, “clarifies complex systems” but the sub-bullets remained the same. One supporting statement was, “I can show a diagram that most people can understand even without technical knowledge”. Another statement, this time in support of the bridging capability was, “It helps me in unifying the languages of business and IT”.

The value of strategic alignment support was realized through ArchiMate because it:

  • Allows an integrated view
  • Depicts links between drivers and the specific requirements that address them
  • Links between motivation and business models

Its support of impact analysis and decision taking recognizes the bridging capability:

  • Integrates between disciplines: links between cause and effect
  • Describes and allows to identify, strategic capabilities
  • Bridges between strategy, solutions and execution

When the target audience changed to areas of business support and IT or to Solution Architects and System Analysts, the next line became:

  • It is for communicating and managing change that leverages TOGAF® standard usage
  • It can support the development of conceptual representations for the applications and IT platforms and their alignment with business goals

For these audiences the value was still in the ability to clarify complex systems and to bridge between strategy, solutions and execution but the sub-bullets changed significantly:

  • Clarifies complex systems
    • Improves understanding at all levels of the organization
    • Allows integration between domains
    • Provides a standard way to represent inputs and outputs between domains
    • Supports having a standard model repository to create views
  • Bridges between strategy, solutions and execution
    • Allows views segmentation efficiently
    • Allow a consolidated organizational landscape definition business aligned
    • Supports solutions design definition

Unlike my business school models, ArchiMate models are also understandable to software developers.

The feedback from the healthcare organization was strikingly similar. To give an example format for feedback, I will represent it in a way that would be very helpful if you could use for your comments.

Country: USA

Industry: Healthcare

Target Audience: VP of IT

Positioning statement:

The Open Group ArchiMate® Standard is the standard visual language for communicating and managing change and making the enterprise architecture practice more effective.

It achieves this because it:

  • Clarifies complex systems
    • Improves understanding at all levels of the organization
    • Short time to benefit
    • Supported by leading tool vendors
    • Supports a more effective EA delivery
  • Bridges between strategy, solutions and execution
    • Accelerates value delivery
    • Integrates between disciplines
    • Describes strategic capabilities, milestones and outcomes

Feedback from an experienced consultant and trainer was:

Country / Region: Latin America

Industry:

Target Audience: Director of Business Architecture, Chief EA, Application Architects

Positioning statement:

The Open Group ArchiMate® Standard is the standard visual language for modeling the organization, leveraging communication with stakeholders and managing change

It achieves this because it:

  • Clarifies complex systems and leverage change
    • Improves understanding at all levels of the organization
    • Supported by leading tool vendors
    • Support change impact analysis into the organization and it is a helping tool portfolio management and analysis
    • Supports complex system structures presentation to different stakeholders using a simplified notation
  • Bridges between strategy, solutions and execution
    • Accelerates value delivery
    • Integrates between disciplines
    • Describes strategic capabilities, milestones and outcomes
    • Allow a consolidated organizational landscape definition

Your Feedback

All of this gives us some insight into why a few of us like ArchiMate. I would like to know what you like about ArchiMate or how you talk about it to your colleagues and acquaintances.

So please do not hesitate to let me know. Do you agree with the statements that have been made so far? What improvements would you suggest? How do they resonate in your country, your industry, your organization? What different audiences should be addressed and what messages should we use for them?

Please email your feedback to ArchiMateFeedback@opengroup.org.

By The Open GroupAllen Brown is President and CEO of The Open Group – a global consortium that enables the achievement of business objectives through IT standards.  He is also President of the Association of Enterprise Architects (AEA).

Allen was appointed President & CEO in 1998.  Prior to joining The Open Group, he held a range of senior financial and general management roles both within his own consulting firm, which he founded in 1987, and other multi-national organizations.

Allen is TOGAF® 9 certified, an MBA alumnus of the London Business School and a Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.

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TOGAF® 9 Certification Growth

By Andrew Josey, The Open Group, Director of Standards

Number of individuals certified continues to increase over past 12 months – now 37,800

The number of individuals certified in the TOGAF® 9 certification program as of November 21, 2014 is 37,800. This represents over 10,000 new certifications in the past twelve-month period. TOGAF continues to be adopted globally with certified individuals from over 100 different countries.

The certifications for the period ending October 1, 2014 are shown in the figure below:

By Andrew Josey

The top five countries are UK, USA, Netherlands, India and Australia.

Individuals certified by Country – TOP 10 Countries – October 2014

Rank # Individuals Country Percentage
1 5350 UK 14.68%
2 4488 USA 12.32%
3 3056 Netherlands 8.39%
4 2835 India 7.78%
5 2264 Australia 6.21%
6 1641 Canada 4.5%
7 1305 France 3.58%
8 1272 South Africa 3.07%
9 1117 China 3.07%
10 984 Finland 2.7%

 

An interactive map showing detailed information on the number of certifications is available at http://www.togaf.info/togaf-visualmap.html

TOGAF Visual Heat map Oct 1 2014

There are over 50 accredited TOGAF 9 training course providers worldwide. More information on TOGAF 9 Certification, including the directory of Certified People and official accredited training course calendar, can be obtained from The Open Group website at: http://www.opengroup.org/togaf9/cert.

By Andrew JoseyAndrew Josey is Director of Standards within The Open Group. He is currently managing the standards process for The Open Group, and has recently led the standards development projects for TOGAF® 9.1, ArchiMate® 2.0, IEEE Std 1003.1-2008 (POSIX), and the core specifications of the Single UNIX® Specification, Version 4. Previously, he has led the development and operation of many of The Open Group certification development projects, including industry-wide certification programs for the UNIX system, the Linux Standard Base, TOGAF, and IEEE POSIX. He is a member of the IEEE, USENIX, UKUUG, and the Association of Enterprise Architects.

 

 

 

 

 

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Three Things I Wish I Had Known When I Started My Career

By Leonard Fehskens, The Open Group

It being the time of year for commencement speeches, Patty Donovan asked if I could offer some advice to graduates entering the Enterprise Architecture profession.

She specifically asked what three things I wished I had known when I began my career, and it’s impossible to resist the setup.  I wish I had known:

1)   What stocks to buy and sell when

2)   Which managers at what companies to work for

3)   Which personal relationships to pursue and which to avoid

Had I known these things, my life would likely have been free of much unproductive stress.

OK; that’s not really helpful advice; these aren’t things that one can actually know in advance.

But there are some things that I sort of knew when I got out of school, that in retrospect have proven to be far more important than I imagined at the time.  They are:

1)   Things, especially big things, only get done by collaborating with other people.

2)   Be open to other perspectives.

3)   Nothing in the real world is linear or one-dimensional.

4)   You have to be able to commit, and be prepared to deal with the consequences.

Let’s explore each of these in turn.

Things, especially big things, only get done by collaborating with other people

This seems pretty obvious, but we never seem to take it into account.  Unless you’re a genius of staggering magnitude, your success is going to be largely dependent on your ability to work with other people.

If you majored in some aspect of information systems, unless you minored in psychology or sociology it’s unlikely you took more than one or two elective courses in one or the other.  If you’re lucky, the company you work for will send you on a two or three day “team building exercise” every few years.  If you’re really lucky, you may get sent to a week-long “executive development program” in leadership or “organizational dynamics.”  These sorts of development programs used to be much more common, but are now much harder to cost-justify.  My experience with these things was that they were often interesting, though some of the exercises were a bit contrived.  But the key problem was that whatever one might learn from them was easily forgotten without any subsequent coaching and reinforcement, washed out by the implicit assumption that how to collaborate as part of team is something we all knew how to do intuitively.

So what we’re left with is “learning by doing,” and it’s clear from experience that this basically means picking up habits that, without expert coaching, will be a random mix of both good and bad.  What can we do about this?

Most organizations have an HR policy about staff development plans, and while people are rarely held accountable for not carrying out such a plan, a sensible request to take advantage of the policy will also rarely be refused.  Don’t neglect any opportunity you get to develop your “soft skills” or “people skills.”

 Be open to other perspectives

A thoughtfully open mind—the ability to recognize good ideas and not so good ideas, especially when they’re someone else’s ideas—is probably one of the most useful and most difficult faculties to develop.

It’s a cliché that truly effective communication is difficult.  In practice I have found this often means that we don’t understand why someone takes a position different from ours, and without that understanding, it is too easy to discount that position.  This is compounded by our predisposition, especially among techno-dweeb-weenies, to focus on differences rather than similarities, something Freud called the “narcissism of small differences.”

Fred Brooks (“The Mythical ManMonth,” “The Design of Design”) has long argued that the chief or lead architect is responsible for ensuring the “conceptual integrity” of a design, but this doesn’t mean that all the ideas have to come from that architect.  Nobody has all the answers.  It is the architect’s responsibility to synthesize worthwhile contributions, wherever they come from, into an integrated whole.

 Nothing in the real world is linear or one-dimensional

When I moved on to a new position after leading an architecture team for several years at Digital Equipment Corporation, the team gave me two rubber stamps as a token of their appreciation.  One said “It depends …”, and the other said “Yes, but …”.

Though it’s almost never possible, or sensible, to rank anything non-trivial on a single linear scale, we try to do this all the time.  Simple models of complex things do not make those things simple.  Acting as if they do is called “magical thinking,” for a reason.

So there’s almost never going to be a clearly best answer.  The best we can do is understand what the tradeoffs are, and make them knowingly and deliberately.

 You have to be able to commit, and be prepared to deal with the consequences

Each of the above three lessons tends to complicate things, and complications tend to delay decision-making and commitment to a particular way forward.  While successful architects understand that delayed binding is often an effective design strategy, they also understand that they will never have all the information they need to make a fully informed decision, and finally, and most importantly, that you can’t postpone decisions indefinitely.  They seem to have a knack for understanding which decisions really need to be made when, and how to connect the information they do have into a coherent context for making those decisions.

But they also have contingency plans, and ways to tell as early as possible whether they need to use them.  In a genuinely supportive environment, it will be OK to reconsider a decision, but only if you do so as soon as you realize that you need to.

So, don’t make decisions any sooner than they must be made, but don’t make them any later either, and make sure you don’t “paint yourself into a corner.”

 Len Fehskens is Vice President of Skills and Capabilities at The Open Group. He is responsible for The Open Group’s activities relating to the professionalization of the discipline of enterprise architecture. Prior to joining The Open Group, Len led the Worldwide Architecture Profession Office for HP Services at Hewlett-Packard. Len is based in the US.

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