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EArly is when to engage EA

Although Enterprise Architecture (EA) could do many things, I talked about the minimal two things they have to do in my last blog

1. The basics/foundation

2. Drive the target state architecture for major business transformations

Let’s talk about the second. A simple guidance to give business partners or fellow senior IT leaders is that it is never too early to engage EA. It is the early stages of a business transformation, program or major project that EA provides the most value.

Ironically, EA adds the most value while you are investing the least amount of money. Not to digress but this is a major reason why EA services should not be billed to the business. When the business is brainstorming what to do and then forming a concept of what they want to do is exactly the time to engage EA. When uncertainty is high you need people that have broad and deep expertise which are your architects. Otherwise, you’d have to assemble an army of SMEs which doesn’t work to well when you have high uncertainty, need agility and don’t want to spend much money.

On the contrary when investment picks up EA is typically less needed. The big investment is when you build for production. By then your architects should have built a rough blueprint that your builders can turn into reality. Since you have the rough blueprint you know exactly what SMEs to bring in to build it out.

Some folks would argue they want the enterprise architects to come in during certain project milestones to do an architecture review. I would suggest you rather have project architects (not enterprise architects) that are part of your delivery organization that take on those responsibilities. I would though suggest, that if the project runs into a major architectural snag that you bring back the original EA team to help them out of it.

Let’s talk about consultants acting as Enterprise Architects in my next blog. That’ll be fun.

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