“Timing is everything” is as true in EA as it is in life. While mentoring EA professionals, I have seen many failures and lost opportunities because teams were not sensitive to timing. It is particularly evident in the first phases of launching and maturing an EA program.
I frequently see two specific timing mistakes. One is a nascent program moving too quickly, pushing EA content on an organization before they are ready to consume it. The other is a team discovering they are not prepared to drive new EA value opportunities because they are buried too deeply in supporting current projects. Of course, there are other examples as well, but these represent the extremes: too soon or not soon enough.
How do you avoid timing mistakes? Both ends of the spectrum, and many examples in between, can be addressed with a few modifications to how you manage your EA program. The first recommendation is to adopt an experimental approach, continually and informally testing partial small-scale work activities and deliverables across the stakeholder community. Doing so allows you to dynamically expand or contract schedule and effort to tune to the expectations and appetite of your organization. The second is to establish a cadence to your work activities. Be proactive, study trends, anticipate change, and prepare a sampling of placeholder EA content, staged and ready to be reactivated and completed when opportunity presents itself.
For another perspective on timing, for an EA program already in motion, see Mike Baker’s article on the “Seasons of Architecture.” And be sure to consider timing as you read our other contributed articles. Finally, for other new ideas in EA, be sure to check out Penn State’s Executive Program in EA and its upcoming programs on Business Architecture. As always, thanks for being an A&G reader!