Lean Enterprise Architecture Method For Value Chain Based Development In Public Sector

In this design science research, we (Eero Hosiaisluoma, Katja Penttinen, Juha Mustonen, Jukka Heikkilä) propose integrating Enterprise Architecture (EA) into organisation’s development work. We call this method Lean EA Development (LEAD). You can read & get the article from Research Gate (link).

Figure 1: LEAD operating model and EA content – growing like Tetris.

This is a story, in which EA was re-designed and integrated into organisation’s development work in an IT department. The CIO requested to completely redesign the IT development process. It was decided, that the new development model should be more customer-centric, lean and agile – with practical and co-operative architecture function in it.

There were several reasons behind the decision to start planning and implementing new way of reorganising ICT development, reasons like:
– Lack of overall insight and visibility of the overall enterprise development,
– Siloed organisation culture in which the EA did not have productive or co-operative role to support organisation’s ICT projects,
– Approach was too IT- centric instead of being customer-centric, and overall organisation structure was containing also some overlapping functions related to EA.

Then, with the CIO’s strong support, a new multidisciplinary Demand Management (DM) virtual team was established. The Demand Management team co-operates in order to find the most suitable solution for the customer’s demand. The Demand Management team consists of specialists e.g. from customer relationship management, operational development and EA-team. Agile methods and tools (e.g. Scrum and Kanban) were utilized in the process, as the Demand Management team operates in Sprints e.g. of two weeks (figure 2)…

Figure 2: Idea to Production with Demand Management.

The Demand Management virtual team is the core capability of the LEAD operating model, the value chain process known as idea to production. The aim is to keep the overall operating model light and simple enough, and to be able to change it when needed according to Lean and agile principles. For these purposes a new role Lean Manager is responsible for the management of the whole value chain, making sure continuous improvements are made to the process whenever appropriate. The key principles of LEAD are: 1) Holistic, 2) Collaboration, 3 ) Visualization.

The LEAD consists of: 1) Value chain based Operating Model (figures 1 and 2) with revised EA practice and 2) Visualization tool supported Lean EA Framework, LEAF (figure 3). Architecture is participating in the work of the Demand Management team. This co-operation produces an architecture concept, which is then either accepted or rejected for further development (build or buy).Architecture is done just enough. Architecture artifacts are created on demand basis, “just in time”, not “just in case”. All the architecture diagrams are published continuously on portal for all the concerned stakeholders of the organization. Architecture is involved in all the development cases right from the beginning, there is no need for board committee reviews afterwards.  Architects provide the Architecture Landscape, against which all the development targets are evaluated before the development phase (build or buy). As the idea to production process performs daily basis (e.g. in two week sprints), new architectural content is continuously added into the Architecture Landscape, which is managed within the EA tool’s repository.

Lean EA Framework
Figure 3: Lean EA Framework (LEAF).

The LEAD method – together with the LEAF-framework – can be applied with other frameworks and methods such as SAFe, IT4IT, DevOps and Scrum. The main advantage of this LEAD approach is to focus on customer and business demands for delivering added value to the customer.

Stop talking architecture, and start talking business and customer value“.

After experimenting the LEAD method in practice, it can be said that there is no disconnection with the EA, but beneficial connection and efficient co-operation, as the EA is an integral part of all the development work. There have been changes in the language used about the development work, with the LEAD the key is to talk about adding the customer value and the need to talk about EA itself is reduced. This is an advantage, since EA has considered difficult. But with LEAD the focus is on customer value add and the operating model.


More to come:
– Detailed description of a) new agile EA function in practice, b) visualization tool support, c) step by step guidance for adoption, execution, practicing, modelling,
– Introduction to simplified Service-Driven Approach (SDA), that leverages on ArchiMate modelling notation and usage of a modelling tool,
– Introduction to next generation of EA tools, that are based on new technologies such as graph databases,
– Combining design-thinking, Service-Driven Approach (SDA), Enterprise Architecture (EA), new visualization tools, etc.,
– Results from experiences of transformation to Lean and agile development in large public sector organizations, and new role of EA function in those changing conditions, etc.