Xentity awarded IT IDIQ from State of Colorado

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The State of Colorado’s Governor’s Office of Information Technology (OIT) has awarded to Xentity an IDIQ Master Agreement for business services

This master task order contract (MATOC) is a result of an award under RFP-001-JG-14 for Computer Programming, Consulting Services, and Business Services involving Cloud Solutions. 

In the Fall of 2013, The State of Colorado’s Governor’s Office of Information Technology (OIT) sought proposals to identify Implementation Services (“Implementers”) for business services involving cloud solutions by Salesforce.com, Google, and Perceptive Software (Perceptive), and other emerging technologies. 

  • The award is for an Enterprise Agreement, as a multi-contract award IDIQ
  • base period of 5 years and 5 consecutive 1-year renewal options
  • an initial $10 million maximum contract amount/ceiling.  
  • Task orders can be issued by multiple sponsoring state agencies.

Xentity has previously won and supported contracts for the State of Colorado with the Department of State and has worked closely with the Office of Information Technology.

Xentity’s Services can be ordered from any of the Colorado Agencies via this contract

Scope Include:

  • Task Order Technical Management
  • Agile Project Management
  • Solution Architecture
  • Architecture & Governance Support
  • Cloud Solution Development / Database Support
  • Portal & Development/Database Support
  • Application Development Support
  • Quality Assurance / Customer Support
  • Transition Support
  • Disaster Recovery/COOP Participation
  • Best Practice Group Support/Participation
  • Outreach Strategy and Support

Positions include: Project Manager, Technical Consultants, Architects, Architecture Analysts, Management Analysts, Solution Architects, Enterprise Architects, and Communications specialists for Branding, communications, design, and strategy 

More to come on how to access Xentity services off this contract.

 

To employ or not to employ, that is the architect staffing question

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Architecture has been a very interesting field to provide as a service. With the various changes in information products, data science, information technologies all building upon each other, its hard not to remain continuously engaged, amazed and curious.

There is the obvious reward of seeing your designs go live with the tangible solution. Web sites, data products, data centers, technology ordering, MIS, software, kiosks, sensors are things you can point at and say “we designed that”. Its a nice feeling. Maybe not as cool and tangible as a building, transportation network, trains, city centers, etc., but nonetheless, there is something exciting, sometimes intimidating about knowing your designs are being used for something real and for the greater good.

Its more of an internal, or dare we say even intrinsic reward, as from a management point of view, typically architecture buys back risk, achieves the expectations, and when all is well, it is a standing outcome that the typical the bulk of the recognition for success goes to the talented IT implementation team. That credit is seldomly connected to the value of the foresight and concepts that were the foundations of enablement of the project or program two or three years ago i.e. the right business model, the capital plan execution, the innovative operating concept, the team vetting and estimation selection. 

Yet, architects do get credit, when there is a “glitch” in the solution. It is not uncommon for that same team to assure the first thought after some cycles is faulty design flaws and the architect is back in the “credit” limelight and until solved or understood, is put right “under the bus”. For example, an airline client called years after the contract was over on several occasions. Once asking if we had broken or illegally used or infringed on patents (which was summarily dismissed); Another time during Y2K, when after 36 hours straight diagnosing the data center tested back-up VPN wire had simply “fallen out”; and finally, when one day prices on the web site sold international tickets for free plus fees, when it turned out it was the mainframe and happend many times, but historically travel agents intercepted the error on behalf of the mainframe.

But, nonetheless, in your portfolio of accomplishments, you can be very proud that you envisioned that concept, design, or solution. Point being, an architect naturally wants to see their design go live, and move onto the next design. Its not like an operations position where they become a master of efficiency in their trade. Or Development where they become an expert in a set of core technologies. Or a requirements or project manager who enjoys the battle of herding cats. An architect enjoys the conquest. They want to either keeping doing similar architectures or grow to the next.

The What is next? driver for architects

That being said, when a technical leader or hiring manager envision what concept is needed for instituting architecture services at their company, they’ll also need to consider, “what will the architect be doing after the next two projects?” as by this introduction, the drivers are very clear for architects in a career “what is next?”. 

  • Will they be churning out more architectures in same patterns, or growing the company, and thus their architecture skills will need to grow with it?
  • What will the role description look like after the first two projects – more technical prowess or more leadership and management growth?
  • What level of architecture services/work is needed against the size, maturity, and complexity of the organization? 
  • After the first two projects, what are the key results needed to measure a skillset that is both needed to have proven history and portfolio of work as well as handle future concepts against the description? 
  • How do you interview and commit for a role – do you assess portfolio for leadership potential or resume qualifications and in-basket technical exercises for the technical depth or both?
  • How do you measure creativity against portfolio trusting it is comparable while not asking too much hypotheticals as architects are built to design for the “what if” and they will beat you every time.
  • Do you know after the first two projects that you will have the challenge the architect will be seeking or that they can handle? 
  • Will it slow down and become a more technical hands-on position or will it speed up and the responsibility will grow, and can they grow with it. 
  • Meaning, what will the level of work look like – not just variable (fast/slow) or stable, but will the role description change or be static or limiting? 
  • Will you need them to take on any task that comes their way or be a strong expert in a specific architecture stack, but those tasks may have gaps in time?

This all said, these are the challenges or hiring a full-time architect. They will be driven by “what is next?” which if you do not know, then your likelihood for expected retention diminish before you start.

Retention and Sizing

Here are a few additional notes on architecture staffing we have encountered and followed by solutions on various staffing models for architects:

Its a buyers market for good architects. Good architects have grown their people leadership, change analysis, results-driven, and team-building skills. Good architects adapt to the subject matter and technical skills become, so that they can handle the rapid change in technology stacks, patterns – those aspects become like “the Matrix”, and they can see through the next technical vendor and industry wave of architecture stacks and grow their value through increasing ROI on services, outlining more valuable or efficient concepts of operation, and easily and collaboratively designing blueprints or transition roadmaps into the PMO change management plans. These positions will pay more, tend to have a lifespan of at most 3 years, and they will get bored. Now if you are hiring for a specific technology architect, then advertise for that and lead with that, in hopes that the stack has a reasonably lifespan and expect limited growth and know their role will be consistent repeat-ability on that stack and grow as only that stack grows and exists. 

Average architects will plateau. If you hired a technical or IT architect, it is more of an analyst or tech team lead architect. They will do this and do it well. If your company though is growing, and changing, and employing new technical stacks, new services and products and new or growing business models, your architect will not grow with it if they were hired as a technical specialist. The role changes from requiring just systems analysis or root cause analysis to business change, policy, or political analysis. The role will now required as the service or product grows in relevance and importance to the organization, a solutions, enterprise or chief architect who is needed that can speak business plan, total cost of ownership, product management roadmap, and present both up to C-level and lead technical teams. The IT or solution architect may struggle with hanging onto to old patterns they know, sticking with the custom portfolio, or worse yet, not keeping up with business management just-in-time training.The hardest part is as they are learning non-intuitive soft skills that go against the more IT introverted hard skill professional profile, they also need to keep up with keep up with the technical architecture changes induced by Moore’s Law and Metcalfe’s law. Typically, this becomes too much learning, and an external or new hire is required. In shorter terms, you wouldnt hire a cook and ask them to farm just because both work with food. This is why Technical architects overengineer as they move up – they do what they know as they move up. Vice Versa as well.

Position is needed for the next two projects, then what? Lets say the architect is brought on for specific architecture skillsets – maybe that is MVC stack flavor of the past few years or maybe that is enterprise architecture analysis – and lets say that architect is hired and is a perfect fit and model architect. As the first two projects wind-down, the problem is time has passed, Moore’s Law has changed, the portfolio requirements have adjusted, but the skillsets chosen may now becoming legacy. It happens that fast. Then, the architects adrenaline wears off from seeing the conquest of going live. They begin to realized the next architecture project is likely not to be a fit. They will tend to either know the end is near or hijack and get “proactive” as business is perceived to delay. As business looks at their next architecture need, data architecture, or process re-engineering, governance or in a new subject matter expertise, they consider if that technical specialist architect can morph.

The answer is technical or application architects do not tend to morph or grow with the organization. Then business considers a new architect, while retaining the old one. Now you have architect bloat, dual roles, and ROI on architecture is at risk of eroding. This is architectures achilles heel, which all comes back to the staffing model. Point being, hiring for the first two projects will yield an average architect, they likely will hit value stagnation, and either reduce into Senior Engineer role, which may be of value, but is definitely a compensation plateau, or they will realize their diminished value and either underperform or encourage them to move on which is just not a good way to acquire talent. Hiring a rock star externally out of the gate will work, but keep in mind they will expect compensation above the organization curve, above inflation, and they will keep up with the salary norms, even if they are comfortable with well-balanced life. They know they can move around to the next conquest.

The position is needed long-term as CIO trusted advisory, but near term, need hands-on technical architecture. Let’s say you instead start out with finding a seasoned trusted advisor, well experience in corporate culture, subject and domain matters, and familiar with patterns in enterprise, process, data, performance, service, technology, and security architectures as well as works well with the various change management domains. They are the perfect fit – except, starting out, you have a project that needs more than a guiding touch, but needs to get their hands dirty in new MongoDB and NoSQL map reduce code analysis. The seasoned veteran has not kept up with actually coding as they have been on higher order tasks, as they should. This gap between the role description long-term need, and short-term fiasco creates a perception of lower value of the individual, even though they were not hired to fill in these unique architecture technical deficiencies. Typically what happens here, is the junior technical staff will begrudgingly fill in the gap, wonder what the “old guy” is doing to earn such a salary, and take longer to team build. Technical architect will team build great with the team, but struggle antithetically with the upper levels, especially in handling the drivers, poltiical sensitivity, and explaining the benefits of the architecture, and design in simple speak. 

“The Bobs” –  As office space pointed out, when you bring in organizational development, or architects considering new implications to process, workforce, technology, and investment, there is going to be assumptions that the “short-timers” are in it to get the deliverable done, and get out, and not worry about the collateral damage. That is their performance driven job. They help the executive organize, see alternatives, model, get technical, management, and leadership expertise, and they are gone. As well, it tends to make any internal architects look bad, as they will be moving at a pace that makes the underlings and overlings ask – “why couldn’t you have done that?”. Now it gets the job done, but definitely is more of a clean-up technique than a bonding and corporate unity experience.

Alternative solution to “After the first two projects, what is next?”

Essentially we have pointed out some major challenges to hiring – but more importantly – to the architect as a full-time employee model?

  • How can you keep good talent? How can you retain the investment and knowledge?
  • Are you going to want the role to expand? 
  • How can you get both the architect who grows with the company and solving low-hanging fruit tactical hands-on issues?
  • Do you have enough work to keep the architect adding value based on what you are compensating for full-time employment?
  • How can the architect keep up with rapidly changing technical patterns as well as growing in leadership, management, enterprise context, and corporate subject matter?
  • How can you keep up with changing expertise while balancing the amount of change introduced to stay innovative, relevant, and moving towards stakeholder and stockholder end goals in a timely manner?

Simply put, the full-time employee for an architect position that is likely to grow with company or product will and does not work. That is too much change to ask of the architect – they have to lead change, train others in change, grow in 3-4 professional domains, all while still being interested in a company asking a lot out of them full knowing the rest of the market is buying back risk and innovation in this skill as well. Or they may be able to do it when the service footprint is small, or in project mode, but as soon as operations picks up, moves from a project to projects to program, to regional to division, on the fast ride of national or worldwide services, that is when the peter principle kicks in.

Point being, Consider other models based on where you are buying your risk

  • If you only need for next two projects, consider contract-based employee
  • If your organization is on roller coaster of growth and portfolio change, contract out consulting firms
  • If your organization has the raw talent, but need some temporary leadership, contract our consulting firm leaders to grow team
  • If you want long-term, but can’t define needs bring on consulting firm to bring in various architecture skillsets

Setup these external support (contract, independent consultants) to address 4 major things:

  • Make them earn your trust – setup a starter or bridge task – You need to connect with the individuals before you commit long-term. Give them initial tasks. Worst case, if you change your mind and want to go back to employee, you have flexibility now. Thereafter, award good work with next tasks, but appropriately longer. 
  • Be clear on what may change –  Don’t map out the roadmap for them – make them earn their purpose, but at same time, let them know what roles may be needed in future, so they have a sense of what type of architecture you may need. You wouldn’t hire a cook, then after six months after, ask if they could farm as well?
  • Define outputs – Try to avoid long-term time & materials. Maybe initially, but thereafter, be project or outcome milestone based to assure the honeymoon delivery value continues
  • Setup Lead Key Personnel – Make sure you get a team lead or lead point of contact you have written into contract/task order to escalate, report, and get status from to manage change, risk, issues, and quality. Though you typically do not get personal services contracts, unless it is just independent, you can ask for certain commitment level from A-team before they staff with a B-team – that is what you are paying for.
  • Contract Terms should be simple and clear – Clear outputs and due date from award, clear understanding of their assumptions for resources, access, team, and dependencies from you, clear either fixed price or not-to-exceed amounts, and clear indirect cost understanding (travel, other)
  • Know Executive expectations – If you know the executive is getting impatient, has high expectations, putting that on a new full-time employee may be hard. At same time, if you want to take time, build the culture, and internal skillset, building short-order  tasks to consultants will possible create adversarial relationships between employees and their bosses to show-off.

If an itch is being scratched, please take some time to review “What are Various Architecture Staffing Models” that Xentity can support.

USGS executes Option year number one for Architecture IDIQ

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Today, Xentity was awarded Option year #1 for the U.S. Geological Survery IDIQ for Enterprise and Solution Architecture . This is the 6th year Xentity has provided outstanding Geospatial Integrated Services and Capabilities and Architecture services to the USGS and the results have continue. If interested in leveraging out IDIQ read the background below and review our USGS IDIQ for Enterprise and Solution Architecture

USGS National Geospatial Program Architecture Background

Xentity provides segment architecture development support in Program and Product Planning, Geospatial Data Acquisition and Production Lifecycle Management, Delivery Services, and Resource Management. Xentity also supported analyzing strategic planning and relation to architecture. EA development was based on the defined Federal Segment Architecture Methodology (FSAM).  As well, Xentity supported the transition from development to implementation which included such services as:

  • Blueprint Roadmap Development
  • Governance Formation, Analysis and Consulting
  • Solution Architecture Management Consulting
  • Operational Quality Analysis – Capacity, Availability, Continuity Analysis
  • Business Activity and Role Analysis
  • Planning Support and Consulting
  • Implementation Facilitation Support
  • Change Management and Consulting
  • Service-Level Management Consulting

Additionally, Xentity assisted the USGS in creating a communication product plan. This included:

  • Extraction of the communication products and communication product activities into a singular unified communication product plan.
  • Documented advice and tactics to product and service leads about opportunities unifying and coordinating events for the purpose of (1) increasing presence relating to TNM and USGS brands and (2) making communication product spending more efficient.
  • Documented advice about strategic communication techniques and products, including but not limited to branding rollout, key differentiator message support, Maturity road map support, conducting of customer meetings, and capturing stakeholder positioning statements for products,
  • Training on newer communication concepts such as social media

Xentity Performance:

Xentity has had 100% deliverable acceptance by USGS and were all on-time and on-budget. Of the 4 blueprints, the resulting 200+ milestones are now being implemented under Xentity supported Program Management Office, and are seeing improvements in all areas. Xentity’s support in providing solution architecture patterns are seeing over 100 IT assets are slated to be retired and still have increase usership, but at a lower cost. NGP Director implemented some organizational management improvements, of which some were based on the Xentity supported resource management roadmap. USGS NGP has shifted to a prioritized stakeholder-driven model to help better invest in data, product, and service content and features the users want/need. Operation Centers have taken to using new internal management processes and toolsets such as online document management collaboration and wikis, online issue/task tracking, migration for some NGP products and services to an ITIL Service Desk “triage” model with a much shorter and reasonable response period, and some early adoption of using Agile Project Management techniques to increase output.

In the area of Communications, Xentity provided the following services to the USGS on this contract even slow adoption of new concepts are yielding large benefits. From supporting a few hundred person inaugural The National Map user conference with a very well received brand treatment and event strategies. Conference support also included pre, during, and post event functions such as A/V coordination, feedback mechanism, last-minute event communication product generation, to seeing new social media accounts and other tools as recommended in the product communication sequence plans. Product Leads have received multiple communication training sessions which concepts included coach Influencing/Sales skills to P&S Leads. Consult on visual ID compliance, Advise and consult with the timing, communication paths, relationships, and critical success factors.

User relevancy is critical as prior to 2008, usage was actually on the decline, Search internet on The National Map User Conference which Xentity directly supported in setting up this inaugural event for May 2011 and results of program usership and product access also was observed as much as 3 times, but generally as 25% uptick in usage. Delivery usage post-conference saw a jump in increased usage, which continues to grow.  Delivery Solutions architecture results has continued to see higher usership and relevance to its users, all while not increasing the IT footprint, and in many places decreasing it while increasing service operation qualities.

Geo is more than a dot on the map

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Geo is more than a dot on the map – it is the next progression in information. Xentity has combined the below services for maximizing value of geospatial programs, products, systems, and workforce. We have found common, re-usable, and tailor-able patterns, issues applicable from small to large public and private institutions.

 

Xentity’s staff has been providing geospatial strategy, planning and solution expertise to large public and commercial organizations for the last 15 years. Our goal is to maximize the value of geospatial products, services, systems, technologies and data for our clients and their customers. We have observed, first hand, patterns of critical issues that have hampered our customers’ performance. These issues are found in the Geospatial business areas of Geospatial Planning, Production and Data Lifecycle Management, and Service Delivery as well as in advising the executive or program leadership to manage and execute such complex and complicated changes. 

We have quite a diverse Geospatial Client Portfolio from:

  • Geospatial Government Programs: NGA, DOI, USGS, BLM, EPA, The National Map, Core Science, Indonesia SDI
  • Private Sector: Space Imaging (GeoEye), Intrawest, Denver Metro Utilities, Cloud-based Geospatial CRM

Our approach and expertise has been developed by providing impactful analysis resulting in practical solutions to these patterns. Our proven approach to problem solving encompasses the best practices of management consulting, enterprise architecture planning coupled with geospatial domain knowledge.

Our services in Geospatial services are:

  • Geospatial Planning Analysis Service
  • Geospatial Production and Data Lifecycle Management Analysis
  • Geospatial Service Delivery Analysis
  • Overall Geospatial Strategic and Tactical Management Consulting

Geospatial Planning Analysis Service

Customer Relationship Management: Work with your customers to establish clearly defined needs and the benefits to help you prioritize your efforts and create greater value for your products and services.

  • For the US Geological Survey Land and Remote Sensing program and the National Geospatial Program, Xentity led the development business practice changes that focused on bringing external customer segments to the program planning processes leading to technological and product innovations and improved communications.

Cost Benefits Analysis of Geospatial: Optimizing the value of Geospatial assets is often very complex due to its versatility and diverse uses. Organizations typically have numerous and varied stakeholders with similar requirements to exploit its valuable data and powerful technologies.  Xentity offers executive level planning and advisory services to clients to identify value opportunities, asses its strategic importance and measure subsequent performance.

  • At the US Department of Interior, Xentity provided cost benefit study to establish return on investment for service deployment – analysis yielded 10:1 Benefits.

Data Acquisition and Quality Planning: Align your program data requirements with the available partners, volunteer data, and ensure it flows through the system in an efficient, qualified and cost effective manner. Ensure you retain data in compliance with existing records, archive and use policies. 
  • Developed and implemented several acquisition strategies for the USGS National Geospatial Program that led to improved data quality and long term maintenance for multiple scale datasets.

Funding Planning:  These are challenging economic times that have seen a considerable decrease in government geospatial funds even when the value of geospatial information has not been fully exploited.  Now more than ever it is critical to be able to determine and communicate the value and impact of geospatial activities internally, to your customers and with your executives. 

  • For USGS and use of FGDC CAP Grants, Xentity designed overall acquisition planning model that linked production tracking, multiple purchasing authorities, and locations of existing inventory and purchase targets to help increase ROI on geospatial data acquisition.

Geospatial Production and Data Lifecycle Management Analysis

Concept of Operations Development –Evaluate your existing production processes for new more cost effective ways to move higher volumes of data through the system. Minimize the number of times the data is accessed.

  • For Indonesia BAKOSURTANAL NSDI, Xentity staff designed a shared production Environment across disparate incubating programs. Xentity has done similar work for DOI, BLM, USGS, EPA, and numerous private firms.

GeoData Quality Lifecycle Analysis – Synchronize the sources to increase the integration qualities of the data or to improve the quality (accuracy, currentness) of the data.

  • US National Geospatial Program – using DLCM sourced data from same suppliers to meet multiple program goals and provided consistency to user community.

Geodata Use Preparation – Optimize how to prepare data for service consumption and use as a part of your production flow.

  • BAKOSURTANAL instituted a publishing model where data was integrated across 17 ministries prior to catalog publishing

Service Delivery Analysis

Xentity has provided architectural services to the USGS, DOI and Data.gov on geospatial metadata management, discovery and visualization. We have also conducted information sharing on re-usable information service delivery patterns with multiple agencies and international bodies such as Canada, Australia, and Indonesia

Geospatial Metadata Discovery Architectures – Improve how your data and products are described (metadata) discovered (cataloging), accessed and used in the online world. Integrate your efforts with open government initiatives.

  • For USGS Core Science Systems, amongst 4 major tenets, Xentity created a path/blueprint for moving to integrated clearinghouse and harvest solution integrating sciencebase.gov and an existing metadata clearinghouse. Worked with Geospatial One Stop, Data.gov and USGS Science Base Catalogs in support of digital data delivery.

Geospatial Delivery Application Architecture – Implement standardized application frameworks and specifications to support data access and rapid transition to new products and services or delivery methods.

  • Solution Architecture design for National Geospatial Program and BAKOSURTANAL for data services and delivery.

 Geospatial Delivery Solutions Architecture –Design the access methods for online service delivery or download for all forms of products and services (vector, raster, data file formats, bigdata) through real-time service/stream access for application integration patterns to bulk cloud computing to discovery bigdata search indices with geospatially integrated interpretative signalling

  • USGS delivery, by moving to eCommerce model for products, moving to staged products and improving web service access, architecture and standards for improved application integration has had significant IT cost reduction, and 10% monthly increase use over 4 years in product download and service access.

Geospatial Delivery Prototype & Research Application Development – Our architects and developers have capabilities to bring designs to life. Experts in prototyping and early phase technology selection and demonstration in BigData, Visualization, Modeling, Service, Discovery, Semantics, and informatics solutions.

We blend this with our Agile Project Business Management capabilities for rapid planning, scrum management, sprint planning tracking, and tying back to aforementioned requirements, line of sight, and levels of architecture, and ITIL deployment requirements.

Our goal is to provide services, software tools, and automation procedures to assist in continued appropriate innovation and to keep your research, prototypes, or beta on track.

  • USGS initial The National Map base map development in early research
  • USGS Cloud Migration analysis few dozen pilots in storage, inventory, services, APIs, bigdata, basemaps and more
  • Rapid Prototyping BigData Indices and interpretative signals for millions upon millions of records and complicated discovery requirements replacing traditional RDBMS.
  • Visualization Application stacks and mashup developments in ESRI JS API, CartoDB, OpenLayers, ArcGIS Online, CKAN, Socrata, ESRI GeoDataPortal, PostGIS, Leaflet, GeoServer, and many more JS APIs, map servers, and basemap engines.

Geospatial User-Centered Designs – Improve how your users access your digital data and mapping products and keep them aware as your content changes. Design solutions that have notification models in areas of interest, topically aware, and balance popularity, and other qualities and repeatable patterns unique to geospatial

  • Space Imaging provided spatial notifications to customers based on area, product and intended use criteria

Geospatial Vendor Product Evaluation & Reseller Specialization – Xentity has evaluated many geospatial product lines in geospatial data, production, product generation, service platforms, and applications/APIs. Xentity has capability to evaluate product lines as well as re-sell products.

  • Xentity has evaluated geospatial products, architectures in open-source, COTS, GOTS with and for USGS, GSA, DOI, Salesforce AppExchange company, Denver Metro Utilities Company, and more. See Xentity Partners partners for products Xentity has capability to resell today.

What makes Geospatial so different?

Why do we promote spatial at such a level? Why we focus on spatial data scienceRead on…

What are some patterns or anti-patterns where architecture and governance can help

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Architecture programs can be help to organizations – but for many different reasons. In same breath, by not identifying the needs for doing architecture, an architecture program can address problems that do not exist or leaders or team do not care about, and can become a waste of money or relegated to a compliance exercise.

At Xentity, we believe instituting architecture, governance or design guidance needs to address patterns, anti-patterns that create portfolio, solution and analysis management strategies that help deal with disruptions, investment in innovation, and shrinking budgets while improving services and aligning suppliers and partners.

Below are some example external pressure trends, common impact or anti-pattern trends cutting across cultural, business, and technology aspects of programs

  • Resistance to Change Planning: Intellectual approaches without balancing emotional or maturity context, not engaging leaders motives, pain, not seed-planting
  • Paving Cow Paths:  Automating management problems, function over form, not questioning assumptions, not looking at new (HR, IT, $) resource enablement patterns
  • Geek Speak Execs don’t get it, and its not their fault
  • Poor Modernization Blueprints: Mile-High, Inch-Deep, without proving pieces at time to gain momentum
  • Islands of Automation: aka Center of Universe – disparate sites, systems, apps, instead of services in user environment
  • Redundant Buying: Buying same item many times, no architecture  guidance to scale or change patterns

  • Program Management: Few delivered on time, on budget, on scope, on quality. Sponsorship lacking, not insuring/governing/buying risk, still not agile PM

  • Bad Data: Building GIGO Business Intelligence. Asking the wrong question of data which in turn leads to data collection failures.
  • Poor Cyber Security: IT security seen as lagging  IT cost, instead of asset-risk management issue
  • Too Much Change: Executives and Consultants promote constant flux, instead of unfreezing, adding change, and institutionalize new efforts and concepts
  • Problem seems insurmountable: Too large, complex leading to reversion to waterfall project planning techniques. The window for 2 years to test to new overhauling policies are gone. Business agility requires negotiation between business for prioritizing and agile project rollout.
  • Vision/Thought Leadership left to higher-ups only:  Challenging to staff to truly envision a change or target state not part of their incentive, even though best tactical ideas to enhance/meet strategy usually comes from within. Thinking gets bound up in current operational mire.
  • Revolving Door: Working to satisfy the management of today for organization political or self interest purposes. Middle management is often positioned or left to be soft with few exceptions on the drive needed to manage change. For example, with middle management and up are nearing or at retirement, large amounts started to retire, the churn caused by vacuum-effect at high level makes long term initiatives difficult to start or sustain.
  • Compliance Driven: Overwhelming amount of data calls with heavy-handed “fines”. Manage and plan to compliance – measuring to ineffectual measures
  • Compliance too complicated to understandCost/Price analysis on subcontractor costsSelf-monitoring/compliance reviews, manage contracting risks, methods and evidence used for estimation, understanding government acquisition regulations. Without expert help, small businesses are heavily limited to engaging.
  • Planning to the beast and not the customer: Fear at operational level of making decisions that lead to a innovative approaches or straying from norm – risk adverse. No reward for doing things better.
  • Delivering Value not part of Culture: Not sure of value of what we produce. no clarity on strategic outcomes and therefore have little recognition of recommended initiatives and what they mean to the workforce.
  • Blackbox Syndromes (aka Man behind the Curtain): Information Technology and management concepts and operations are overwhelmed by or shielded from the consumer of customer view. Programs/Mission are not informed of what IT has to do. Thus executive direction is disconnected, sometimes thus IT solutions or operations funding tie executives hands. Business agility gets put on backburner regardless of what Portfolio/Project Management is in place.
  • Surviving, not Thriving – Mission management model or system not designed to manage sustained change and transition. They are designed to deliver a product or service, if lucky.
  • Stovepiped Policy creates stovepipe programs: Cannot collaborate – need to get my task done now. Without collaboration, there is an inability for prioritization methods or techniques to be imparted and use effectively at all tiers of management.
  • Funding mismatch: Budget is a constraining variable in all work formulas precluding optimization across elements. These may be synthesied or aggrgated – mixed and matched as you see fit. Some programs may actually be funded right, but key functions of program budget are misaligned limiting what can be accomplished as a whole.
  • Enterprise Planning flavor of the day: Due to either past failures, or perception that new approaches are repackaged ways tried before kills internal buy-in towards integrated or collaborative techniques. Enterprise architecture, team functional/segment analysis, or agile project management may have been “tried” before, but instead of evaluating failure as tried to take on too much scope, other factors not resolved above, or simply, was over-engineered, are usually not labelled as the cause. The baby gets thrown out with the bath water or enterprise planning gets tossed aside due to lack of leadership, mistrust or burn-out.
  • Imbalance of Leadership Styles: Quick deciders, Stalling Stabilizers, Never-satisfied Challengers, Start-up Innovators – whatever the persona,  a lack of understanding of what each brings causes consternation or even over imbalance towards one style. Which leads to no decisions, status quo, low morale, or too much change.