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Getting a Business Architecture Team Started

I am often asked, “What is the best way for my company to get a Business Architecture Program started?” Though each company has its own unique features, here is a good guide a CEO can follow:

1. Carefully read the Bodine-Hilty paper, “Business Architecture: An Emerging Profession,” which can be found on the website.

2. Discuss the idea with your Board of Directors. Gain their support and approval to proceed.

3. Announce to your company that you will be introducing a Business Architecture Program, asking everyone at every level in the company to help this team in any way possible and provide them with whatever information they may request.

4. Designate a leader for the effort – your most trusted and competent direct report.

5. Ask each department of your organization to designate one person who will be their Business Architect. It should be someone with the right attributes, which you can find listed on the BAA™ website. Several departments may need to hire from the outside or contract consultants. This person may work on a part-time or full-time basis depending on the needs of the team.

6. Send the entire team for BAA™ endorsed training. (It is important that each team member completes their Certified Business Architect (CBA™)® certificate, ideally prior to beginning work. A little knowledge can be a very dangerous thing in Business Architecture.)

7. Ask the team to perform a global scan of the company and present their findings to you personally in 30 days.

8. Brainstorm with the Business Architecture Team on the best way to present the findings to the Board and senior managers, and then have the Business Architecture Team present to them.

9. Brainstorm with the Board and senior managers as to how to best implement necessary changes, with the Business Architecture Team sitting in and asking clarification questions as needed.

10. Charge the Business Architecture Team with crafting your company’s vision story based on your company’s available market analysis and strategy information. The vision story should illustrate what the marketplace will look like in five years, who the major players will be, what role your company will play, how your company will function and how it will achieve sustained profitability. Ask them to describe how the vision story will be realized, identifying what in your company will need to change—capabilities, personnel, culture, rules of the game, incentives, etc. Tell them budget is not an issue at this stage. Give them 30 days. Send your senior managers for Business Architecture training during this time.

11. Have the Business Architecture Team present again to you, work with them to make adjustments, and then present to your Board and senior managers, prefacing these presentations with the fact that this is a visioning exercise, which will be followed up with a methodical, practical, phased analysis and gameplan for accomplishing the work outlined, which will take into account revenue streams and costs, cashflow, cost of capital and constrained resources.

12. Charge the Business Architecture Team with the responsibility of creating the gameplan. Give them 45 days.

13. Have them present to senior management and the strategy team, take notes, update their gameplan adding additional detail and financial projections, and present to senior leadership again in 20 days. Repeat this step two more times.

14. Have the Business Architecture Team make a final presentation to you, make any additional tweaks, present to senior management for vote to adopt, and then to the Board for approval of budgets.

At this point you have established a Business Architecture Team, made the Board and senior management aware of who they are, where they report and what they are able to do for the company, demonstrated the value they bring and introduced their first round of findings into the norms of the company. Momentum, and your continued sponsorship, should ensure ongoing success.

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