For any operating model including Enterprise Architecture (EA) clear roles and responsibilities are critical. EA having the privilege of being one of the most misunderstood IT organizations around, makes it even more important for them.
Unfortunately, people hate defining roles and responsibilities with clarity. Why is this? It’s because lots of and likely at least one of your IT leaders is power hungry or can’t spell “Speed of Trust*”. Those individuals want their fingers in everything because their stomach churns when they have to rely on someone else to do work that directly impacts their success. “What if they goof it up and I get punished for it?”. OMG, grow up.
Efficient operating models avoid overlap in responsibility and especially in accountability. So any efficient operating model requires leaders to trust each other. If you’ve got a handful of leaders with the attitude described in the second paragraph you’ll never align on an effective roles & responsibility model or RACI (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed).
Why is it even harder for your EA leader to get an aligned RACI? A properly empowered EA team should have accountability and responsibility for things other IT leaders care a lot about. Defining your architecture strategy, deciding what IT tools or business applications to use, setting standards people should follow. Does your head of infrastructure or enterprise applications really want to give you that power? No they don’t but they should.
So what often ends up happening is that EA is an influencer vs a decision maker (EA decision rights. Who cares? and AAB not ARB). I think it is wrong (!!! All powerful EA !!!) and leads to inefficiencies and suboptimal results. But it is reality unless your CIO has the same opinion AND strongly enforces it. If the CIO utters the words “You guys/gals figure this out and get back to me” you might as well already raise the white flag.
Once you have roles and responsibilities established the head of EA needs to be very vocal to make sure they are being followed. This is no time to be shy or nice. EA is likely to be avoided or minimized if the Chief Architect is not vocal about following the agreed upon operating model and roles and responsibilities. Be strong and persistent!
* Steven M. R. Covey (FranklinCovey Co. and CoveyLink, LLC) is a global authority on trust, leadership and culture <link>