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Editor's note: For Part I of this article, click here.

Enterprise Architecture — a Prerequisite to Effective IT Project Portfolio Management

Not “boiling the ocean” is essential to building a practical Enterprise Architecture. Managing the different dimensions of EA is an iterative process that ultimately migrates your current systems to a future architecture where there are:

  • few, if any redundant systems,
  • faster time to market for new initiatives , and
  • substantially lower maintenance costs.

Developing an EA strategy that aligns with business strategy is an important first step. However, making EA real and practical requires that your IT Project Portfolio Management (PPM) processes use project selection criteria that are also aligned with both of these strategies.

As illustrated in Figure 1, connecting EA to IT PPM requires a cascading process of business alignment as described below:

Enterprise Strategic Intent

  • What are you trying to accomplish across the enterprise?
  • Have you established your critical success factors?

Enterprise Business Objective

What are the requirements that support those objectives?

What is the architecture that is going to allow you to fulfill those objectives?

What are your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) as you begin those objectives?

How do you measure successful completion of the objectives?

Business Unit Objectives / Requirements (business alignment processes)

  • Using business intelligence and competitive intelligence, what will you measure to gauge the successful completion of objectives?
  • What business value will be created?
  • What are the gaps between your current capabilities and future capabilities?

The Enterprise IT Plan

  • Are you using performance scorecards to measure the business value from EA and to measure the performance of your IT portfolio?
  • Which policies are you enforcing?

The IT Roadmap

  • How are you going to execute that high-level plan?
  • What capabilities are you going to deliver back to the enterprise?
  • What resources and assets are available, and which must be created and when?
  • How will new capabilities be introduced to the business units to assure adoption?


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