An architect engagement model has one fundamental purpose and that is to deliver value from the architecture function to the customer or employer. This value however needs to be decided by the architect team itself. This goes beyond individual contributor measurements such as performance plans for architects, though in advanced levels of maturity those will be tied into the goals of the architecture team.
There are signficant differences between the goals of the architecture team and the principles they use to guide architecture decisions.
Architecture Goal(s): A goal is the desired results of the architecture team’s activities as measured over a specified period of time.
Architecture Principle(s): A principle is a fundamental proposition by the architecture team which serves as the basis for decisions by an architect within a specific engagement.
Building Architecture Goals
As a part of building or implementing an architect engagement model the architecture team should develop a series of SMART goals which will allow them to measure their outcomes over the course of the engagement model. An engagement model without goals is one that will often have no real or perceived value to an organization. In fact it may be this missing element which is at the root of the failure of architecture teams. As in most initiatives with a group of professionals it is best to a) have all titled architects participate in the process of creating and setting goals, preferrably in one location, and b) require acceptance of the final output by the team.
To develop the goals the team should use a team facilitation method where:
- The leader of the architecture initiative opens the process with a description of the goal setting process and the processes the team will use to evaluate and manage its success.
- Each architect describes a sample measure of success for the year. Keep in mind in establishing an architect practice, the first set of goals should establish the credibility of the team in value contribution.
- Each architect is responsible for defining their image of what a successful team will look like at the end of the measurement period. At this stage these should be described in ‘feel’ words. For example, “If we are successful in this iteration, my stakeholders will be calling me more often for business planning sessions because they will really understand how I can help them.”
- The team should discuss these descriptions and debate which items will have the most positive outcomes on their progress as a team. Select one or more (we suggest just one to become the guiding vision of the team).
- Run the team through a vision setting exercise to develop a team vision statement. This will resemble an executive team setting a vision for their company.
- Take the vision statement and begin the process of building goals from it.
- Each architect is responsible for contributing at least one personal goal to the goal pool.
- The team then prioritizes and selects the goals most appropriate for them for the measurement period. The selection of goals should be large enough for each member to contribute while small enough to be quick and measurable. Measurement periods should be as small as possible, though less mature teams will likely need longer to measure outcomes.
- The team may then go through a period of brainstorming on how each of them can contribute to these goals within their current workload.
Examples of architect team goals:
“In the next 6 months architecture will write 5 significant business cases which will be read and commented on by business executives.” — supporting vision statement, “Architecture drives business and technology innovation at our company.”
“In the next year the architecture team will research 5 industry trends and determine if and how they augment the companies business models through a business technology innovation paper. This will be measured by an innovation discussion once a quarter.”
“This year the architecture team will find and implement 10 million dollars of cost savings for the organization. This will be measured by value measures in project delivery.”
“In 3 months 25% more of our executive leadership will understand the value of architecture contributions as measured by a new internal survey.”
“In the next year, architects will measure 25% of delivered value against the estimated ROI listed in the business case.”
Other goals may include: project delivery times, project success rates, time to market improvements for business capabilities, operational measures such as orders received, innovative application of technologies, etc.
Setting and Creating Architecture Principles
In the spirit of non-duplication, Iasa defines architecture principles in almost exactly the same way as the TOGAF standard found here. Due to licensing restrictions and to further use of a great standard please read and and study architecture principles on the TOGAF website.
One note of differentiation from the TOGAF definition of principles, however, is that in an Iasa engagement model, the architecture principles are ones that help architects make decisions and not those that guide the entire organization. Iasa has not documented enough success in non-architects building, using and improving architecture principles for this to be recommended in our engagement model. If your organization has a case study in how this has been accomplished successfully, please contact us.