By The Open Group
When Matthew Heard first heard the term TOGAF®, not only did he have no idea what it was but he misspelled the name of the standard at first. It wasn’t until after searching Google for “TOGATH” that the real name for the architectural framework popped up and he got a sense for what it was, he says. And thus began a more than 15-month journey that has started Heard and his colleagues at BAE Systems, a British defense, aerospace and security systems provider, down a path to help transform the Operations function of the company’s Maritime Submarine division.
As is the case when any company looks to TOGAF, an Open Group standard, BAE’s Submarine division was in search of a structured way to help make organizational changes when they sought out the framework. According to Heard, a Senior Operations Engineer at BAE, the company’s needs were multifold. As a product manufacturer, BAE was in need of a way to prepare their systems to transition from their current product to the next generation. With a new product planned to go into production in the near future—one that would require higher technical demands and performance—the company first needed to set itself up to smoothly move into production for the higher demand product while still building the current product line.
In addition, the company wanted to make operational changes. After having surveyed 3,000 of their employees regarding what could be done to make people’s jobs easier and make the company a better place to work, the company had received 8,000 comments about how to create a better working environment. After winnowing those down to 800 separate problem statements that included ideas on how to improve things like safety, deliverables and the overall workplace, the team had many potential ideas and solutions, but no way to determine where to start.
“How do you structure things so that you don’t try to do everything at once and therefore don’t do anything because it’s too overwhelming?” Heard says. “We had a lot of change to make but we couldn’t quantify what it was and what order to do it in.”
As it happened, IBM’s Paul Homan had been doing some work on-site with BAE. When he heard that the company was looking to make some organizational changes, he suggested they look at an Enterprise Architecture framework, such as TOGAF. Although the company’s new head of transformation was familiar with the framework, there were no Enterprise Architects on staff, no TOGAF certified employees and no one else on staff had heard of the standard or of Enterprise Architecture, Heard says. Thus the mix-up the first time he tried to look it up online.
And then they did something very unusual.
“The first thing we did was, anything with more than three syllables, we crossed out with a black pen,” Heard says.
Why did they go through the text and black out entire sections as if it were a classified document riddled with redacted text?
According to Heard, since many of the terms used throughout the TOGAF standard are technology and IT-driven, they knew that they would need to “translate” the document to try to adapt it to their industry and make it understandable for their own internal audiences.
“It talked about ‘Enterprise Architecture,’” Heard said. “If we said that to a welder or pipe fitter, no one’s going to know what that means. I didn’t even know what it meant.”
As a recent university graduate with a background in Engineering Management, Heard says the IT terminology of TOGAF was completely foreign to him. But once they began taking out the IT-related language and began replacing it with terminology related to what submarine mechanics and people in operations would understand, they thought they might be able to better articulate the framework to others.
“We didn’t know whether we had gone so far away from the original intent or whether we were still on the right line,” Heard says.
Luckily, with Paul Homan on-site, they had someone who was familiar with TOGAF that they could go to for guidance. Homan encouraged them to continue on their path.
“For example, it might say something like ‘define the enterprise architecture vision,’” Heard says. “Well I just crossed out the word ‘architecture’ and turned the word ‘enterprise’ into ‘function’ so it said ‘define the functional vision.’ Well, I can do that. I can define what we want the function to look like and operate like and have the performance that we need. That becomes tangible. That’s when we went back to Paul and asked if we were on the right track or if we were just making it up. He said, ‘Carry on with what you’re doing.’”
As it turned out, after Heard and Wilcock had gone through the entire 900-page document, they had maintained the essence and principles of TOGAF while adapting it so that they could use the framework in the way that made the most sense to them and for BAE’s business needs. They adapted the methodology to what they needed it to do for them—which is exactly what the TOGAF ADM is meant to do anyway.
TOGAF was ultimately used to help define BAE’s strategy for transforming their operations and production functions. The project is currently at the stage where they are moving from defining a scope of projects to planning which projects to begin with. The team has scoped approximately 27 transformation projects that will take place over approximately three to five years.
Heard says that it was a fortuitous coincidence that Homan was there to suggest the framework since it ultimately provided exactly the guidance they needed. But Heard also believes that it was also fortuitous that no one was familiar with the standard beforehand and that they took the risk of translating it and adapting it for their own needs. He feels had they already been trained in TOGAF before they started their project, they would have spent more time trying to shoehorn the standard into what they needed instead of just adapting it from the start.
“That was the real learning there,” he says.
Now Heard says he finds himself using the framework on a daily basis for any project he has to tackle.
“It’s now become a routine go-to thing even if it’s a very small project or a piece of work. It’s very easy to understand how to get to an answer,” he says.
Heard says that by providing a structured, standardized approach to solving problems, TOGAF ultimately allows organizations to not only take a structured approach to transformational projects, but also to document and measure their success along the way, which is key for meeting business objectives.
“Standardization gives process to projects. If you follow the same approach you become more efficient. If there’s no standard, you can’t do that.”
Learn more about how BAE is using TOGAF® for Business Transformation at The Open Group Edinburgh, October 19-22, 2015
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Matthew Heard attended the University of Birmingham from where he graduated with an MSc in Engineering Management in 2013. During his time at University Matthew worked as a Project Engineer for General Motors, focusing on the development of improvements in efficiency of the production line. Upon graduating Matthew joined BAE Systems-Maritime-Submarines looking for a new challenge and further experience of change and improvement programmes. Since Matthew joined BAE his predominant focus has been the delivery of Operational change initiatives. Matthew undertook a review and translation of the TOGAF principles and objectives to develop a unique strategy to deliver a program of change for the Operations Function, the outputs of which delivered the Operations Transformation Strategic Intent and Work Scopes. Going forward Matthew aims to continue developing and utilising the principles and objectives of TOGAF to aid other functions within BAE with their own future strategic developments, starting with the HR Transformation Work Scope.
John Wilcock has worked within the Maritime Sector for the last 27 years. Starting as a shipwright apprentice, John has worked his way up through the organisation to his current position as Head of Manufacturing & Construction Strategy. Throughout his career John has gained a wide range of experiences, working on a diverse selection of Defence and Commercial projects, including Warship and Submarine platforms. During this time John has been instrumental in many change programmes and in his current role John is responsible for the development and delivery of the functional Transformation and Build Strategies. In order to develop the Operations Transformation Strategy John has worked alongside Matthew Heard to undertake a review and translation of the TOGAF principles and objectives to create a bespoke strategic intent and work scope. John continues to drive change and transformation through the TOGAF principles.
Enterprise Architect at IBM, CTO for Aerospace, Defence & Shipbuilding IBM UKI