Architecture Method Overview

In 2004, Xentity supported the Department of the Interior CIO office (OCIO and all bureaus in implementing a DOI standard Methodology for Business Transformation (MBT) and governance.

This approach built on using appropriately collaborative facilitated approach and balanced level of analysis to discovering such business improvement (i.e. process, data, application, technologies, resources, budget) to meet the mission needs. Through all these Xentity has supported IT and Business Resource Objectives addressing avoiding problems such as Paving Cow Paths, Resistance to Change Planning, RedundantBuying, Program Management, Poor Modernization Blueprints, Islands ofAutomation, Poor Cyber Security and several other anti-pattern core architecture concepts

The method results in a sequenced set of strategic improvement opportunity set of recommendations that can be fed into a facilitated Enterprise Architecture management construct (i.e. Program Management Office, Governance, supporting service). Meaning, we do tend to prescribe to enter in Segment Architecture level first:

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Source: OMB (FINAL_FEA_Practice_Guidance_2006121406.pdf)

Though enterprise architecture often provides and defines a set of high-level decisions that will strongly influence the integrity and structure of the system, but is not itself the structure of the program or the system which is what the business is in need of.

And solution architecture is where the system structures are created, taking into account system priorities and constraints, and ensuring that the system will achieve the system objectives and architectural requirements. This work is informed and constrained by the decisions made in the Enterprise architecture typically for technology, but the business will need to define its own compromise of scope, timing, qualities, etc, based on its budget allocations it negotiated with the enterprise.
While it is true, the segment analysis will struggle to not simply reinvent itself into another silo without enterprise architecture Guidelines and Policies to help maintain workforce strategies and system integrity guiding or constraining lower-level system design and workforce tactics.This is why a method for approaching segment architecture definition, with re-usable patterns connected to the program and enterprise line of sight is so important. Otherwise, without engaging at the segment, typically, the program will be in the hands of the IT cost or service center, which may not, and many times does not, have purview into the overall program nor enterprise domain, thus workforce, I/T Specialists and Software Programmers, tend to develop their own subset of technology code, lack refactoring guidance, and we are back into lacking the Architecture Concepts and into those anti-patterns again.

Developing a Clear Line of Sight

The Method development – which can be reviewed in the blog on “Developing a Transformation Approach” had its basis in developed a clear line of sight between needs from the business and analyzing the programs goals, its portfolio of products and services, process effectivity and efficiencies, and supporting workforce and systems, with an understanding of the capaital and operational investment for that total cost of ownership view.

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The program or segment view would be compared against other enterprise or common resources, patterns, and capabilities for improvements. These findings, based on where strategically the core team would seek opportunities to improve, would be analyzed for alternatives ways to address, progress, or resolve issues and provide a key set of sequenced recommendations aligned with the organizations capability to absorb the change and the organizations longevity factors for not addressing the change.

In summary, some key tactics leveraged are:

  • Help the design be vet into client process, acquisition language and principles
  • Assure a reasonable investment plan by aligning with executive directives
  • Use the core principle best practice analysis built into design for implementers
  • Collaborative based designs improve likelihood of implementation success
  • Communications is primarily strategic outside of the core team to gauge interest and reaction i.e. Knowledge Management, Chess, Sun-Tzu, Movie Production

Where is the method today?

The core principles, and a large portion of the analysis methods and tools has since been used as the core of the OMB’s Federal Segment Architecture Methodology (FSAM). As well, Xentity has been tapped by the OMB Chief Architect to support in further revisions of FSAM given Xentity’s hands on practitioner and thought leadership in the transformation space.

This method, which has been used to support over twenty blueprints at DOI and Bureaus, is now a federal standard for approach coordinated efforts for EA-driven change. As a specific example, Xentity has provided such support since 2007 to the USGS National Geospatial Program (NGP) in coordination with the USGS Science Strategy and NGP Strategic Plan development. Xentity’s experience with USGS NGP gives a proven understanding of what it will take to support the USGS objective of implementing DOI Geospatial Modernization Blueprint recommendations for standardization and optimization of geospatial data and services. Xentity supported the collaboratively created and completion of four transformative and modernization blueprints in response, and is strongest positioned to support the shift towards executing, monitoring, and supporting the implementation of those blueprint recommendations.

Using these tools, Xentity has supported DOI and USGS since 2003 in Enterprise Architecture. In such, in 2004, Xentity supported DOI in its first blueprints. In 2007 thru 2009, Xentity supported USGS achieve tactical modernization in its delivery services and planning functions. In 2009 through 2011, Xentity supported the creation of 4 modernization and transformation blueprints within USGS National Geospatial Program.