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The EA Matrix

The below table shows my opinion of how to structure the Enterprise Architecture (EA) team. I’ve used this chart now 3 or 4 times. If I would have known I would have made it fancier.

I also believe EA teams should be small. By small I mean stay under 30 even in a very large organization. I’ve worked at Caterpillar and PepsiCo so I am talking large organizations.

What you do need to do in larger organizations is expand your network of architects (not enterprise architects) that are in part of other teams. I like to call those folks matrix architects.

Let’s take the top left light box Procurement as an example. The procurement IT team should have at least one person that is broad and deep or have maybe 3 people that cover each main area of procurement. Let’s say Contracting/Vendor Management, Indirect procurement, Direct procurement. The one broad person or the 3 covering major procurement areas are then your matrix architects.

What is different about these matrix architects? Their focus is on all aspects of procurement activity.

  • Proposal development

  • Project execution (project architect)

  • Support

The EA is focused on

  • IT strategy for procurement

  • Proposal/business case/target architecture development for major transformations involving procurement

  • EA communicator and coach to the procurement matrix architect and leadership

In larger organizations there is no way the EA for a domain can cover all architecture activity in a company. This is why I recommend EAs only get involved in project execution in an emergency. Execution and support architecture needs should be covered by the matrix architect. This is why the “EA communicator and coach” part of every EA’s job is so important. They need to keep their matrix EA’s up to date so that they can properly execute the desired architecture direction.

For smaller organizations there is probably not a need for the matrix architect and the EA can do it all. Just be careful that is your company grows in size and complexity that you start building the matrix. Otherwise, one of two things will happen. A) you’ll burn out your EA or B) the EA will lose track of his core EA goals and get sucked into never-ending execution.

How solid is your Matrix?

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