A Practical Guide to Federal Enterprise Architceture

Keywords federal architecture federal enterprise architecture guide to architecture

Successful execution of the EA process is an Agency-wide endeavor requiring management,allocation of resources, continuity, and coordination. Agency business line executives should work closely with the Agency architecture team to produce a description of the Agency’s operations, a vision of the future, and an investment and technology strategy for accomplishing defined goals.

Experience shows that obtaining the needed cooperation among Agency executives is not an easy task. Creating an EA program calls for sustained leadership and strong commitment. This degree of sponsorship and commitment needs the buy-in of the Agency Head, leadership by the CIO, and early designation of a Chief Architect.

3.1. Obtain Executive Buy-in and Support
Gaining executive commitment to any new initiative requires the development of a strong business case and a communications approach to effectively convey that business case. Since the concept of an EA is not intuitively understood outside the CIO organization, the CIO should create a marketing strategy to communicate the strategic and tactical value for EA development to the Agency Head, other senior Agency executives, and business units.

3.1.1. Ensure Agency Head Buy-in and Support
Without buy-in from the Agency Head, the CIO will find it hard to maintain the necessary sponsorship desired to fund and implement improved systems and processes. The CIO takes the lead to provide understanding and gain the Agency Head’s buy-in. This can be accomplished by:
• Leveraging success stories from other Agency and private sector organizations as well as the experience and knowledge of EA experts
• Using examples to demonstrate how an EA can provide a blueprint and roadmap for desired changes or improvements in mission performance and accountability
• Emphasizing the legislative requirements for developing, maintaining, and implementing an EA within the Federal sector.

Once the CIO is assured the Agency head understands the need for an EA, it is important to secure the Agency Head’s commitment to pursue the architecture effort. The CIO accomplishes this by mobilizing the Agency Head’s appreciation into the expression of clear, Agency-wide support. This will establish a mandate to business and CIO executives to support the effort by allocating the needed time and resources. The CIO should coordinate with the Agency Head on the selection of an Agency executive to be designated as the Chief Architect. Experience demonstrates that the CIO’s authority alone is insufficient to make the endeavor a success. A clear mandate from the Agency Head is a prerequisite to success.

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