IT Governance & Enterprise Architecture – The Yin and Yang of IT

IT Governance and Enterprise Architecture like Yin and Yang are complementary concepts that interact to form a dynamic system in which the whole is greater than the assembled parts.

IT Governance without Enterprise Architecture is like getting the direction and distance to go but not knowing the location of paths and pitfalls i.e. having no map. IT Governance without Enterprise Architecture tend to get quick results that from a holistic perspective look like a patchwork carpet with no general idea and a lousy design.

Enterprise Architecture without IT Governance is like having a map but not knowing where you are and where you are going. Enterprise Architecture without IT Governance typically ends being an ivory tower with no benefits to the organization.

Big Bang is rarely a great idea

Trying to implement a complete set of IT Governance processes, roles, and responsibilities simultaneously with a full set of Enterprise Architecture guidelines, principles and standards will at best take a very long time before you see any benefit but usually the endeavour will fail before you realize the benefits.

An Agile Approach

Instead, I would suggest you follow this plan to implement what you need when you need it:

  1. Start from your company’s mission and strategy
  2. Identify the two or three most important IT Governance disciplines
  3. Identify the short term target maturity level for those
  4. Identify the necessary Enterprise Architecture artefacts needed by those disciplines
  5. Define and implement that subset
  6. Branch into two streams:
    1. Monitor and measure the implemented processes and report the results
    2. Start from 2 with the next set of IT Governance disciplines

Tools to help

Several standards can help on your journey towards your goal for IT Governance and Enterprise Architecture. COBIT is in my opinion the most important. COBIT covers the entire IT spectrum and has suggested processes with RACI matrices, input output documentation as well as goals and measures – you get best practices almost ready to implement. You should complement COBIT with ITIL and TOGAF. Where COBIT is concerned with the governance of IT processes the other are concerned with the IT processes themselves.