Working Groups are one of the core activities of ITANA. As such, they play a large role in fulfilling our capabilities. A capability scan is a good way to start out your group.  It helps you define your scope and deliverables in a common way across groups.   It also ensures that your work is aligned with the goals a mission of ITANA. This short article walks you through a quick capability scan.  This shouldn’t take more than one or two meetings of your team to complete.  The outcome of the scan is a great way to communicate your team’s goals and deliverables back with ITANA.

Use the ITANA Capability Map to determine your scope and deliverables

Strategic Capability Scan

When you start up your group, have a look at ITANA’s Capability Map. Think about how this group helps support the strategic capabilities. Below are some guiding questions and examples.

Practice Development
  • What areas of the EA practice does this group cover?
  • Are lessons about how to advance the practice that should be highlighted?
  • Are there maturity models or maturity lessons to share?
Knowledge Transfer
  • What are the key lessons or takeaways that you want other architects get from your work?
  • What is the best way to achieve those takeaways?
  • What channels are best suited to your message?
Community Building
  • Does this group lead to a natural peer-group within ITANA?
  • Does it have a role in bringing members together in new ways?
  • If so, how will you gather these peers together?
  • Does this work have a broader audience than just itself and/or ITANA?
  • If so, how will you get the message out to broader audiences in higher education?
  • Can this group play a role in educating people about ITANA?

Executing these Strategic Capabilities well are critical to ITANA and to your group’s success.  Focusing on how your group will deliver these outcomes is a good foundational activity for your team.  It will help you set scope and expectations and it will link your activities to the strategic mission of ITANA.  This is an architectural best practice.  You will be "architecting" your working group.  If you have questions, ask the Chair to join in a call and help you work through the analysis.

Once you have discussed the Strategic Capabilities, you should look through the rest of the capability map and think about the structure and functions of your group.  

The Service Capabilities

The Service Capabilities are the things we do to deliver the strategic capabilities.  Your group will need to deliver a collaboration service, a content creation service, an instructional service and networking service.  You should ask questions about how you will build and deliver these services for your group.    Questions you might ask are:

  • How will you structure your collaboration,
  • What tools will you use,
  • How will you manage the groups in those tools,
  • Who will be responsible for setting up and organizing the tools and their structure,
  • Who should be involved and how will you engage them,
  • How will you manage content,
  • What are the various tools, social media sites and spaces that you will use for your content,
  • What kind of instructional materials will come from your effort,
  • What is the best format and channels for any instructional materials, and
  • How could this effort be used to connect peers with each other or form communities of practice.

The Community-Facing Capabilities

The goal of these capabilities is to get the word out about your work and to engage all the communities that might be interested both inside ITANA and outside of ITANA. Consider how the rest of ITANA and the rest of the higher education community will engage with your work and your group.  You should think about your meeting structures, the collaboration spaces you will use, how you will leverage various social networking sites, whether or not you need to set up instructional activities and finally, what are the final published products from your work. This is a critical part of our Outreach and Knowledge Sharing.

The Supporting Capabilities

Finally, look at the supporting capabilities and see what help you need from the ITANA leadership in scheduling resources, content management, capture of activities and outreach and relationship management.

The Persona Scan

Review the Personas described in the Content Management Working Group. Keep in mind the various personas who will be interested in your work.  As you start up a working group, think about the different channels and information that you need to share.  Ask your team the following questions:

  • Who are the personas we are most interested in connecting with?
  • What channels and communication methods work best to connect with each persona?
  • What will you share with them and how?
  • How will you get your message out to all the various personas who might be interested?
  • What is the right message for each persona? 
  • What would you like back from them if anything?

This provides input into your communication plan and your deliverables.

Administrative Tasks

Finally, there are some basic administration tasks you need to assign and keep up with.

  • You meetings should be put on the ITANA Calendar of Events.  It is a Google Calendar.  If you need to be added to the Google Calendar so you can add events, contact the Chair and/or the ITANA email list.
  • You should create and manage a wiki space for working group under Working Groups.  You add a child page to the Working Group page to do this.  If you need help getting started with the wiki, check the follow two documents
  • You should make sure you have people assigned to tasks.  Folks should be prepared to report out regularly on the standing conference calls.
  • You should maintain a list of team members on your wiki page so we know who to contact and reach out to if we have questions or want to contribute.
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