Architecture of Governance

Since the need for reducing risk, streamlining IT processes, reducing cost and aligning to business has become focus life of Enterprise Architect changed. The Architect is the role for compliance management and strategic thinker1.

“When I hire for Enterprise Architects, I look for individuals who have an exceptional ability to communicate, deal with political situations, and take on big bold organizational challenges. If all s/he brings to the table are strong architectural abilities, I pass on that individual and keep looking”. – Kathy Watanabe, Microsoft.

The Architect needs to be able to navigate politics since it has been a compliance role as well, they need to govern without burning bridges in the organization. Abilities to generate consensus via collaboration has been vital for the progress of Enterprise Architecture. There comes the need for “Architecture of Governance”, the Architecture Review Board and Steering Committee is defined to achieve the compliance throughout the organization. Sometimes the ARB process is more of exception management than governance. If the standards and patterns are clearly defined, ARB process is merely a formality to communicate changes in Architecture Landscape, the changes are discussed to analyse the impact on the environment. Architecture Review Boards

Architecture Review Board consists of stakeholders from both business and technology to ensure compliance with standards and policy, alignment to strategy with local and global insight. ARB meets on a cadence and follows a well-documented process, evaluates Architectural changes within realms of objectives defined at an organizational level. ARB is also accountable to Corporate Governance team, it forms a major component of IT governance within Corporate Governance. A steering committee governs ARB at large, provides guidance and escalation point for ARB activities. ARB role can be described with “Enforcement” provided it has enough influence in the organization. Enforcement can get political which is a result of reactive nature of ARB activities.

Lack of proper reactive ARB processes can lead to a perception of “Slow down” from execution teams. Not everything happening in IT needs to be reviewed by ARB, a good charter defines a clear criteria for ARB review which includes who, what, why, when & how something should be presented to the board 2. ARB should avoid becoming bottleneck by implementing a federated operating model. ARB should also be open and transparent with its evaluation criteria and decision-making process, that creates a lot more acceptance from execution teams.

References

  1. Walker, M (2007), A Day in the life of an Enterprise Architect, MSDN
  2. Markwell A, 2015, Establish Governance with an “Enterprise Architecture Board”

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