The ITANA frameworks group plans to interview architects at selected institutions about their use of EA frameworks and framework-related tools. The following interview questions are proposed.
- Briefly, what is the history of your EA group, how does it fit into your IT organization or institution, and what are its main activities?
- Who initiated the adoption of an EA framework?
- What did the decision-makers involved mean by an EA framework?
- What were the major goals for adoption of an EA framework? For example, is your framework intended to:
- Define for your institution the structure and practice of Enterprise Architecture
- Collect and organize information about your institution, in order to understand its business goals, processes, data, and technology solutions
- Identify gaps between current and desired capabilities, and lay out a roadmap for closing those gaps
- Analyze your institution's business -- its strategic goals, business model, business domains, business processes, business rules, etc.
- Analyze your institution's information -- its information needs, conceptual and logical data entities, master data, etc.
- Analyze your institution's technology -- its solutions, applications, services, data stores, infrastructure, etc.
- What EA frameworks did you consider as alternatives?
About the framework
- Is your framework external, home grown, or some combination?
- If it is an external framework, what parts of the framework are you using, which parts did you set aside, and why?
- How have you changed the framework you started with, in response to what challenges?
- Many frameworks distinguish between the business, information, and technology aspects of the enterprise.
- Does your framework deal with a "business layer", and how developed is that aspect of your framework? For example, does it extend to: strategic goals, business model, business domains, business processes, business rules.
- Does your framework deal with an "information layer", and how developed is that aspect? For example, does it extend to: information needs, conceptual and logical data entities, master data.
- Does your framework deal with a "technology layer", and how developed is that aspect? For example, does it extend to: solutions, applications, services, data stores, infrastructure.
We think an EA framework can serve three important functions:
- It can be a statement of professional standards, explicitly defining for your institution the structure and practice of Enterprise Architecture;
- It can be descriptive, providing a context for situating and relating information about your institution, particularly its goals and the information, processes and systems that support those goals;
- It can be prescriptive, identifying gaps and laying out a roadmap for the delivery of new capabilities.
We would like to ask you about each of these areas:
Framework as EA practice
- What aspects of your EA practice are you supporting with your framework? For example, information gathering; business processes analysis; system interdependencies; planning; project management.
- Who are the main consumers (in and out of IT) of the artifacts resulting from your framework?
- Does your EA framework include an Architecture Review Board? If so:
- Describe board membership. What members are inside or outside IT?
- At what points in your EA process does your board provide reviews?
- How are reviews conducted? What is in scope for review, what are the inputs and outputs?
- How are exceptions/waivers considered and granted?
- Even if you don't have an ARB, are there processes that require reference to your framework? For example:
- As part of project management, do projects identify their goals or impact by reference to the framework?
- As part of change management, are proposed changes assessed by reference to the framework and/or are changes incorporated in the framework as updates?
- Do you use your framework to provide guidance to designers and implementers? For example:
- Guidance for selection of operating systems, application servers, languages, application frameworks, etc.
- Guidance for finding and re-using existing services, such as web services, directory services, authentication services, etc.
- Guidance on solution design issues such as scalability, virtualization, security, high availability, backup, disaster recovery, etc.
- Guidance for understanding and using master data, business rules, workflows, etc.
Framework for information gathering
- Do you use your framework to capture the following kinds of information:
Logical data models
Physical data models
Installed software in
- In practice what is the scope of what you capture:
- Breadth: Are you gathering information one project at a time; one domain at a time; systematically across the whole enterprise?
- Depth: Is there a standard or required level of detail, or is it ad hoc?
- Time: Are you mainly documenting the as-is state of the enterprise? Are you modeling to-be state(s)? Do you track history of changes?
- What categories or metadata have helped you the most in organizing the information in your framework?
Framework as roadmap
- Does the framework guide IT strategic planning? Does it guide institutional strategic planning?
- Is the framework used to identify, prioritize, and budget essential projects?
- What projects, or changes to projects, have resulted from the guidance provided by the framework?
- Please list methods you use in your EA practice and their purpose
- UML including its various flavors
- Primarily text documents and spreadsheets
- Other ...
- Please describe (or provide pointers to) templates that you have found particularly helpful for the various aspects of your practice.
Managing/reposing EA information
- Please list the methods and tools you use to manage EA information
- EA- or UML-specific repositories
- Homegrown repository containing searchable and/or re-usable data
- Other ...
Presenting EA information
- Please list the methods and platforms you use to communicate EA activity and provide customers with the information that results from that activity.
- Internally to fellow-architects
- To project members
- To planners and campus leaders
- To the world
- What are some of the use cases your presentation of information is designed to support:
- Look up information on a topic (e.g. a domain, process, or service) and find cross-references or links to related information
- Tie together documentation in a domain with a conceptual business model of the domain
- Compare as-is and to-be states and expose gaps
- Trace dependencies and expose downstream effects of proposed changes
- Is it designed to support/fit gap analysis, to highlight problems, to identify potential projects?
- Is there training for users of the framework? What skill sets are involved in working with the framework?