When establishing (or indeed re-establishing) a brand new Enterprise Architecture function within an organisation there are perhaps two main approaches:

  • A big bang approach
  • A gradual iterative incremental approach

I favour the big bang approach. This is for several reasons:

1) a big bang send a clear and confident message to everyone in the organisation that things WILL be done differently

2) a big bang provides a clear mandate, mission, vision and positioning for the Enterprise Architects, sidetracking threats and challenges from others who feel threatened by the emergence of EA

3) a big bang ensures that the Enterprise Architecture function is given a solid budget and is established through a strategic change programme, complete with programme manager

4) a big bang has clear reporting to the CEO or appropriate C-level executive (since responsibilities vary from company to company) and clearly defined outcomes

5) a big bang needs clearly visible and continuous [sic] executive support

6) a big bang must have clear goals, objectives, measures, performance targets etc. Enterprise Architecture must be part of the business strategy to improve the organisation’s effectiveness and profitability.

7) a big bang ensures that proper effort is made choosing an appropriate EA framework, Meta Model, Process and EA tool

8) a big bang is JFDI on a large scale – get the whips and carrots out and get it done right first time ! Make it So !

Don’t get me wrong, iterative approaches do work well with established processes such as software development, but not for the introduction of new functions and processes that haven’t previously existed.

Establishing an EA function in small iterations is giving ammunition to challengers and doubters. There tends to be no mandate, no or limited budget, a quick and dirty mindset, limited access to experienced consultants, no EA tools, overall limited maturity.

It sends a message to the staff that the executive management is not sure, is not confident, and won’t invest in the success of Enterprise Architecture.

It’s a bit like changing governments, you don’t do that iteratively do you?

As Niccolo Machiavelli once said ‘Tardiness often robs us (of) opportunity, and the dispatch of our forces’.

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