Friday, 26 March 2010

Practice makes perfect

Both Sam and I have had two days in Birmingham this week as part of the FSD programme. These were very useful. The first day was focused on the work different projects are doing around Enterprise Architecture, and how it works best where the approach is used but the term isn’t! It was good to review where we where as a project not just in terms of Enable but also with the mini project around e-enabling our External Examiners processes. There was also a review on the last meeting and that we needed to be careful not to try and take too many big steps (Ross et al 2006) but rather move from silos, to standard tech, to optimised core and finally the Holy Grail – Business Modularity. By doing the baby steps we reduce the chance of failure. I got a few to do reminders out of the day – including read the book by Ross on “Enterprise Architecture as a Strategy” and reading the Cairo final report, along with trying to track down the governance documents provided by Liverpool John Moore. It is really good how the more advanced projects are helping those of us just finding our feet. It was also good to see how different institutions addressed creating models and that there was no single right answer for everyone. There was general agreement that EA should be used as a method for enabling change, part of a strategy to support projects, which links back to those times I have spoken about programme management (Managing change and innovation, More Snow time, Merry Christmas and many more!).

We got to see a demonstration of the application CETIS have been developing to support those interested in doing EA modelling, with the right tools, but without the scary BizzDesign software and their licensing! This looks like a great starting point and something I would be interested in as we don’t use a lot of the features of BizzDesign at the moment, although I can see how BizzDesign is useful as the model and we get more sophisticated in our needs.

The second day was more generalist in talking about shared services, supporting student services, and SOA. This is the harder day for me being less technical than I used to be but I find it really useful seeing what other institutions are trying and hearing about their experiences. We talked about how others could benefit from this expertise, it was clear that the group wanted somewhere “safe” to discuss issues and models.

The afternoon session started with an extremely useful Dragons Den where we had to sell our projects, this was the first time I had done it without support, and I think it went ok. It has certainly made me realise that I know more than I thought about EA and also helped me with the understanding of what we need to communicate to senior staff about our “mini” project. Hopefully this knowledge will stick with me as we move forward in the project.

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