Project Management

Project Management Central

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Topics: Leadership, Strategy
Enterprise Architecture (EA) and Project Management
Enterprise architecture: A discipline for proactively and holistically leading enterprise responses to disruptive forces by identifying and analyzing the execution of change toward desired business vision and outcomes…

In my forty years in the industry, I have straddled myself between project management and the varying perspectives of enterprise architecture. In fact, I spent this last year wholly dedicated to it in a new formal role, which kept me from engaging on this platform as I have in the past – which I’m trying to change.

For me, the two are interrelated. Take the definition above, which I pulled from Wikipedia. If you replaced “Enterprise Architecture” with “Project Management,” does the definition still essentially fit?

What are the opportunities for the project management and enterprise architecture professions, recognizing what they have in common?
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In my case, along the years, enterprise architect role was more closely to business analyst role. In my actual work place enterprise architect role is a key stakeholder to be included into each initiative at the very begining working closely with business analyst (or BRMs) in early phases.
George -

I'd agree with Sergio that the EA role is a critical advisor and contributor to most projects. However, while the PM's involvement with the product and the project outputs is temporary, the EA's lasts beyond the project in terms of roadmap changes, reusable component/asset updates and so on.

I'm definitely more in favor of a "committed" EA than an "involved" one - the latter are the "ivory tower" type EAs who add little value...

Kiron
I agree with Kiron and Sergio.
I recognize that many a PM has tussled with or had less-than-desirable interactions with an EA. This is, unfortunately, a bi-directional problem, as many an EA perceive their interactions with PM’s as negative as well. So, what is at the root of this seemingly dysfunctional relationship?

I hold firm to the role, purpose, and responsibilities of an “accountable PM” – period.

With that said, is there not a possibility that the negative interactions are related to a misunderstanding of the value proposition of an EA? And due to that misunderstanding, the project’s structure negates an appropriate relationship? This also goes the other way, wherein EA’s do not understand the value proposition and need for an accountable PM, and hence they misstep their boundaries.

Enterprise architects typically operate under a mandate from executive management in a check-and-balance / navigational role, aligning with the definition I provided in the question. When that is true, how do we structure a project to gain the value propositions inherent in both roles?
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1 reply by Kiron Bondale
Jan 05, 2023 7:38 AM
Kiron Bondale
...
George -

Starting with some understanding on both sides of the roles and responsibilities of the other is a good starting point. Historical baggage or past poor interactions can muddy the waters.

Shared objectives also help - if the performance measures which each role is assessed on are in conflict, the roles will be in conflict.

Finally, having the EA as part of the team rather than a seagull stakeholders also helps.

Kiron
As a project manager, our domain of responsibility is the project. The domain of the enterprise architect is the enterprise. It's very much a matrixed relationship.
Jan 04, 2023 10:50 AM
Replying to George Freeman
...
I recognize that many a PM has tussled with or had less-than-desirable interactions with an EA. This is, unfortunately, a bi-directional problem, as many an EA perceive their interactions with PM’s as negative as well. So, what is at the root of this seemingly dysfunctional relationship?

I hold firm to the role, purpose, and responsibilities of an “accountable PM” – period.

With that said, is there not a possibility that the negative interactions are related to a misunderstanding of the value proposition of an EA? And due to that misunderstanding, the project’s structure negates an appropriate relationship? This also goes the other way, wherein EA’s do not understand the value proposition and need for an accountable PM, and hence they misstep their boundaries.

Enterprise architects typically operate under a mandate from executive management in a check-and-balance / navigational role, aligning with the definition I provided in the question. When that is true, how do we structure a project to gain the value propositions inherent in both roles?
George -

Starting with some understanding on both sides of the roles and responsibilities of the other is a good starting point. Historical baggage or past poor interactions can muddy the waters.

Shared objectives also help - if the performance measures which each role is assessed on are in conflict, the roles will be in conflict.

Finally, having the EA as part of the team rather than a seagull stakeholders also helps.

Kiron
Stéphane,

I understand what you are saying, but projects are inherently part of the enterprise and, as such, are within the concern scope of an EA, recognizing they are charged with confirming the “execution of change toward desired business vision and outcomes.”

I like how Kiron stated that it would be better to have the EA as part of the team rather than as a seagull stakeholder.

PM’s are pretty used to having “IT-Only Focused” architects on the team, but the EA is a different breed, having a scope-of-concern that has "some" cross-over with the PM. Recognizing this, how do you properly structure and maintain the proper accountability structures for the PM and the EA?
...
1 reply by Stéphane Parent
Jan 05, 2023 9:01 PM
Stéphane Parent
...
The reality, George, is that you have a small number of EAs in an enterprise. Many companies only have one. That's on purpose because you need each EA to be clones of each other. You cannot split the EA workload across people. They have to be working from the same strategies, mission and vision.

You may get one EA assigned to your project but you will be sharing that EA. You don't want a dedicated full-time EA: that would automatically cancel the value the EA brings to you: involvement across the enterprise and the projects.
Jan 05, 2023 5:23 PM
Replying to George Freeman
...
Stéphane,

I understand what you are saying, but projects are inherently part of the enterprise and, as such, are within the concern scope of an EA, recognizing they are charged with confirming the “execution of change toward desired business vision and outcomes.”

I like how Kiron stated that it would be better to have the EA as part of the team rather than as a seagull stakeholder.

PM’s are pretty used to having “IT-Only Focused” architects on the team, but the EA is a different breed, having a scope-of-concern that has "some" cross-over with the PM. Recognizing this, how do you properly structure and maintain the proper accountability structures for the PM and the EA?
The reality, George, is that you have a small number of EAs in an enterprise. Many companies only have one. That's on purpose because you need each EA to be clones of each other. You cannot split the EA workload across people. They have to be working from the same strategies, mission and vision.

You may get one EA assigned to your project but you will be sharing that EA. You don't want a dedicated full-time EA: that would automatically cancel the value the EA brings to you: involvement across the enterprise and the projects.
...
1 reply by George Freeman
Jan 05, 2023 9:45 PM
George Freeman
...
Absolutely, the engagement level of an EA (from a time perspective) on a given project is rarely material. However, when they are engaged, the impact can be significant. Especially if they were not involved in conception and initiation.

I’m speaking about how to remedy or mitigate the “relational difficulty” between a PM and an EA. As I mentioned, I’ve always straddled the two worlds and feel comfortable navigating both realms. However, as I have taken on more formal EA-based activities, I see and feel the “rub” when engaging PM’s, project teams, sponsors, etc.

I’m also aware through my engagements on this platform that this is standard fare. In other words, it’s hard to find a PM who has a favorable opinion of enterprise architects, as their interactions have to some degree, been abrasive or at least difficult.

So, my question stands. What can be done within the professions to recognize the shared value propositions such that it would “change the tide” of relational difficulty?
Jan 05, 2023 9:01 PM
Replying to Stéphane Parent
...
The reality, George, is that you have a small number of EAs in an enterprise. Many companies only have one. That's on purpose because you need each EA to be clones of each other. You cannot split the EA workload across people. They have to be working from the same strategies, mission and vision.

You may get one EA assigned to your project but you will be sharing that EA. You don't want a dedicated full-time EA: that would automatically cancel the value the EA brings to you: involvement across the enterprise and the projects.
Absolutely, the engagement level of an EA (from a time perspective) on a given project is rarely material. However, when they are engaged, the impact can be significant. Especially if they were not involved in conception and initiation.

I’m speaking about how to remedy or mitigate the “relational difficulty” between a PM and an EA. As I mentioned, I’ve always straddled the two worlds and feel comfortable navigating both realms. However, as I have taken on more formal EA-based activities, I see and feel the “rub” when engaging PM’s, project teams, sponsors, etc.

I’m also aware through my engagements on this platform that this is standard fare. In other words, it’s hard to find a PM who has a favorable opinion of enterprise architects, as their interactions have to some degree, been abrasive or at least difficult.

So, my question stands. What can be done within the professions to recognize the shared value propositions such that it would “change the tide” of relational difficulty?
George,

maybe there is a merit in conflict between PMs and EAs, as it forces to look for solutions for both. The EA in my experience will help the PM a lot by reducing complexity in setting standards and constraints. And the PM helps EA to establish and test the standards.

For me EA focus is on sustainability and resilience, while PM focus still is short term looking at project objectives, schedule and budget. Both need to look at the effects on humans and avoid having a technology view only. Both are needed.
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