In this design science research, we (Eero Hosiaisluoma, Katja Penttinen, Juha Mustonen, Jukka Heikkilä) propose integrating Enterprise Architecture (EA) into an organization’s development work. We call this method Lean Enterprise Architecture Development (LEAD) – also known as Lean EA (LeanEA).
Note! The case story is an EA success story in the public sector, but the same approach applies to private sector too.
This is a story, in which EA was re-designed and integrated into an 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 operating model should be more customer-centric, lean and agile – with practical and co-operative architecture function in it. The most prominent driver for the change was to focus on the idea of “customer value delivery”. That’s why the “business model” is based on the Value Delivery Chain -approach, and the actual “operating model” is based on the Idea-toProduction -process. Both based on Lean and agile practices and principles.
There were several reasons behind the decision to start planning and implementing a new way of reorganizing ICT development, reasons like:
– Lack of overall insight and visibility of the overall enterprise development,
– Siloed organization culture in which the EA did not have a productive or co-operative role to support the organization’s ICT projects,
– The approach was too IT-centric instead of being customer-centric, and overall organization 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).
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 the 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 artifacts are created on-demand basis, “just in time”, not “just in case”. Architecture is done “just enough”. All the architecture diagrams are published continuously (on the portal of the EA tool) 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 afterward. As such, the quality of design is built-in. 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. The EA tool plays an important role in providing a platform for the Enterprise Digital Twin (a.k.a. Digital Twin of an Organization, DTO).
As a result of these changes, not only the development operating model was successfully reorganized, but the EA was revised as a concept, the EA function was renewed as a discipline, and the Enterprise Architecture Management (EAM) was renewed as a capability. The EA, with the modelling support, was integrated with other functions, and found as a valuable, integral practice for supporting both strategic planning and operational development.
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 (aka LeanEA / Lean EA) 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 main focus is on the customer value within the value delivery chain-based operating model, in which the modernized EA function plays an important and meaningful role.
More to come:
– Detailed description of a) new agile EA function organization in practice, b) visualization tool support, c) step by step guidance for adoption, execution, practicing, modelling with patterns & examples of the most relevant diagram types, automatic model-generation etc.
– Introduction to simplified Service-Driven Approach (SDA), that leverages on ArchiMate modelling notation and usage of a modelling tool,
– Introduction to the 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.