THE HIGHLIGTHS of our EA maturity assessment workshop in London
Previously we shared that EA Fellows was invited to host a workshop about EA maturity assessment at the latest IRM Enterprise Architecture Conference in London in early October and we are eager to share how it went.
Our workshop presented a new EA maturity assessment model that considers the organizational context and how it is linked with success of EA or its lack thereof. The research consistently shows that enterprise architecture initiatives are not as effective as desired, mainly due to EA approach being too engineering oriented and ignorant of the soft aspects of steering the enterprise.
We thought it is the time to consider other approach, the one that takes people and culture into consideration as these are the key elements that can make or break any new initiative.
If we look at the enterprise’s maturity through the lens of change management – as a constant shift from the as-is state to to-be – many of the tools used in change management could be successfully adopted and applied in enterprise architecture as well. Traditionally, change management incorporates the people’s factor to the extent that enterprise architecture doesn’t, which is also reflected in the tools and methodologies used.
One of such brilliant tools, which we often employ, is Colour Thinking. It is a paradigm in which 5 basic colours – yellow, blue, green, red and white – represent different perspectives and attitudes towards the change. Based on social psychology, it uncovers the underlying assumptions about the change and their manifestation through various management styles. It can help to identify a preferred management style in a given organization, business unit or person. This would ensure that the architect would highlight the benefits of the architecture using the style that the audience is receptive to, minimizing the misunderstanding and miscommunication. For example, blue-print thinking is all about rationality and finding the best possible solution out of given options. The main belief is that the change is linear. In this case, the architect could highlight the ability of EA to act as an instrument to control changes in the organization to ensure the compatibility of each project’s results with “the greater whole”.
All in all, the maturity model offers an excellent assessment tool that can help identify the gaps in the EA practice in the organization. It answers the question – what steps does the enterprise need to take in order to gain a greater maturity. However, oftentimes it isn’t the WHAT the organization struggles with, but HOW. How to implement the changes to make them really “stick”? What to do to get everyone on board? How to communicate the value to all stakeholders? And this is exactly when Colour Thinking comes into play.