Wednesday 1 May 2013

EA Workshop Newcastle-Upon-Tyne 16 April 2013

This was our final EA workshop and Ray and I traveled to Newcastle the day before to ensure we were ready to run it. There were a few changes made to the content of the session, but essentially it was the same. We started with a round of introductions and found that there were several participants with a role that included business and IT planning. However, there were few that had any experience of using EA and Archi. The introduction to EA and to Archi delivered by Ray and Dumebi went well and the participants seemed to enjoy the card exercise as well as getting to grips with Archi. The sample file that was shared helped to speed up the process of creating the first map.

Although there were very few questions and little discussion during the session, the action planning exercise and the feedback at the end of the workshop suggested that they had all found the workshop helpful in developing their knowledge and skills in EA and Archi. Most were keen to continue their learning and to explore ways to embed this in their organisation.

Monday 18 March 2013

Workshop review

Stephen, Ray and I met on Friday 15 March to discuss and review the last workshop. We all felt it went well, but there were a number of improvements that we wanted to make. These are summarised below and will be implemented before the next workshop in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne on April 16

Advertising blurb and promotion
It was agreed to retain the simple non technical language for the advertising and promotion of the next workshop. We will continue to aim the workshop at new EA practitioners and those involved with solving problems in their institution, despite being aware that the full benefits of using EA will only be realised when its use in integrated in a range of roles from senior management to technical etc.

Welcome and introductions
It was agreed that this went well, especially the individual sharing of workshop expectations and experiences of using EA to date. However, if there is a larger group next time, this might need to be shortened.

Introduction to EA
It was agreed that this went well. Suggested that the ‘views’ slide be adapted to include more detail and connect with the actual roles of those present at workshop

Activity 1 – PEL jigsaw
It was agreed that this activity worked well as an introduction to the concepts of EA. However,  some changes to be made:
·         Cards to be reduced to just those required for the basic PEL process
·         PEL process to be given on handout per group
Introduction to Archi
It was agreed that this went very well despite the last minute change to a virtual presentation! Some changes suggested:
·         Examples on PPT to match PEL process
·         Core language slide to be simplified to highlight relevant items
·         Handout to be produced of core language
·         Business layer slide to be simplified to highlight relevant items
·         Archi relationships slides to be simplified and to reflect those used in PEL process
·         Detail of items to be simplified to highlight relevant items
·         Archimate language to include discussion of ‘newer’ items that are relevant to PEL process e.g. driver/motivation etc
·         Layers slide to be simplified to highlight relevant items
·         Using Archi to use screen shot/Archi of (partial) PEL process and guidance to tools/parts of screen/basic functions etc

Activity 2
It was agreed that participants were easily able to create the PEL process on Archi. Changes:
·         Shorten the time for this task
·         Partial PEL process set up with suitable views as Archi file to be distributed on USB (or installed on PC’s in training room prior to session)
·         Copy of screen shot of partial PEL in Archi as handout
·         Facilitators to ensure all participants able to complete this task
Activity 3
Some participants did move onto this task, but not all. Suggested changes:
·         Introduce task with discussion of what PEL process in Archi can tell us (i.e. evidence of weak process)
·         Set task of adding new parts of process to Archi (e.g. record keeping and appeals)
·         Facilitators to ensure all participants able to complete this task
Case study
It was agreed that this went well. Suggested changes:
·         Create handouts for ‘as is’ and ‘to be’ slides
·         Simplify ‘manual change’ and ‘server down’ slides
It was agreed that the action planning and plenary went well, although might need to be summarised if many more participants at next session.

Monday 4 March 2013

EA Workshop Wolverhampton 28 Feb 2013

This was our first full workshop and we are pleased to say that it went well!

There was a late change to the programme as Dumebi was asked to deliver some training in Canada a few days before the session, so she delivered her part of the session via web-conference.

The majority of participants were new to enterprise architecture and, in the final round-up, all felt confident that they understood the process and how to use Archi software sufficiently well.

We are due to meet with Stephen in two weeks to review and reflect on the workshop to make any changes ready for the next workshop in April

Wednesday 27 February 2013

Preparing for the workshop

Dumebi was unfortunately unable to attend the workshop in person, but offered to deliver her introduction to Archi via web-conference from Canada. We met this morning using Blackboard Collaborate to test out the system. All went well, the sound was particularly clear.

Tuesday 22 January 2013

EA Case Studies Webinar

Jisc Emerging Practices free webinar: Transforming Business Practices with Enterprise Architecture

On the 16 January we participated in a very successful webinar that introduced two case studies about the use of EA in institutions. JISC Advance hosted the webinar and provided Blackboard Collaborate as the web-conference tool. The webinar was well attended and there was a good discussion. Ray Reid presented a case study about using EA to transform the External Examiners process at Staffordshire University. Stephen Powell from University of Bolton presented on improving faculty business processes.

Ray had not delivered an online webinar before, and his reflections on the process are below:

Webinar experience

I’ve completed my first experience of speaking in and listening to a Webinar, the following is a summary of what I thought of it, hopefully it will prove useful to you when deciding whether this is the route that you should take.
Tools / Equipment used:
  • Blackboard Collaborate (used to be called elluminate)
  • Toshiba Laptop (Windows 7), Windows XP wasn't as fluid so a reinstall was called for.
  • External Microphone
  • External Headphones
  • Easy to setup, although first run setup can have Java issues, so it would be best to check that you don’t have these by attempting to access the room well in advance to your webinar time.
  • People don’t have to travel to be in a particular location to participate.
  • No feedback when you’re talking, just silence to keep you company, yes your listeners can ask questions but the feedback which you get whilst talking to people face to face or via Skype is just not there.
  • Very dependant on attendees’ equipment, so if you have a poor quality microphone you will come across badly to the people who are listening – so it’s best to do a pre-recording if you can, that way you can listen to how you sound. One of our hosts on the day sounded very tinny. 
  • My topic was on Enterprise Architecture, it was difficult to see if the audience was following what I was saying, I had done several run-throughs of my session and had also recorded it, but that still didn't stop me from thinking what I was talking about didn't make sense due to the silence whilst doing it live. I found myself dumbing down my content as I was talking, which in hindsight I don’t think I should've done as it’s very noticeable by all the pauses. 

Ray Reid.

Thursday 20 December 2012

Webinar January 16 2013

Our next event will be a webinar for anyone interested in Enterprise Architecture. It's being delivered by Staffordshire University and University of Bolton on 16th January 2013 (11:45-13:00). The session will include two case studies followed by discussion:

- Staffordshire University (delivered by Ray Reid and Ian Watts): using EA to transform the management of external examiners
- University of Bolton (delivered by Stephen Powell): improving faculty business processes - a mixed methods approach

You can register for the webinar using the following link:

Friday 9 November 2012

Creative thinking events

Unfortunately, our event planned for the 6 November with the RSC West Midlands in Wolverhampton had to be re-scheduled for 28 Feb 2013 due to insufficient numbers of participants. We have been wondering if it's just the wrong time of year, or the language we use to describe EA for new users.

I met with one of the participants from our summer event, and she described EA as a very exciting and useful  tool. She has used Archi to create many maps to help with planning and future proofing of plans. She had had 'coaching' from Sam and Fleur to help her develop her skills and she found this the most useful development activity. It's likely that she will present a short case study about her experience at one of our future events.