TOGAF Phase H - Applying Agile

You would never know TOGAF Phase H - Architecture Change Management is one of my favourite ADM Phases from the objective I wrote. The "process will .. provide for the continual monitoring of such things as new developments in technology and changes in the business environment..."

The TOGAF Phase H objective is awkward. What it means is that you need an activity assessing value and risk information. Then you need to be able to react.

In January 2020, after watching the news from China, I told my team we had an agility event. Buckle-up, it will be a wild ride. Later, from the local pub, I texted a fellow EA/TOGAF theoretician about TOGAF’s Phase H (Risk Management, Value Realization & Architecture Change). Yes, I do that.

Next, we got to work. I didn’t grasp how wild the ride would be.

Agility is reactive

Most people think they can plan to be agile. You cannot plan for the unpredictable. Agility is reactive. Agility is always a reaction to an external opportunity or threat. Agility is always a reaction to an external change. It is a natural 5 step model:

  1. See a threat or opportunity
  2. Gather essential information
  3. Make a resolute decision
  4. Complete the work within the time
  5. Stretching exercises—remove the barriers to change
    The 5th step is the only one you can plan—consider at your ability to react to opportunities and threats. Systematically improve. Keep stretching.

It doesn’t matter whether you are flying through the Rockies, playing soccer, or seeing a potential pandemic. The 5 steps are the same. What changes is how long you have between spotting the threat and living through it.

Trust me, we always have enough time. Keep your eyes open. Quarterbacks, fighter pilots, rugby players might not have enough time. They might have fractions of a second. Enterprise architects have longer to react. The trick is to keep our eyes open, and our minds alert.

TOGAF Phase H Role

TOGAF Phase H is where value and risk information flow, and our reaction starts. Too many of us don’t exercise our responsibility as enterprise architects to perform value and risk assessments. Instead, we sit back and expect someone to ask.

Half of my career has been establishing architecture teams, the other half using enterprise architecture teams to deliver useful architecture. As an architect, I never wait because I know what high-value architecture means to a buyer. (Trap#2 – Not Making Progress).

Continuous improvement requires taking a tough look at ourselves and asking fierce questions. The question on the table right now: where were you when the risks piled up?

Real enterprise architecture helps with the hard problem—digital transformation, IT portfolio rationalization, agile enterprise, and COVID-19 response.

The result of our work was taking market share during this sad event. Instead of layoffs, we hired.

TOGAF Phase H - Home of Enterprise Agility

TOGAF Phase H is my favorite ADM Phase. While it doesn’t get the recognition of creating architecture, Phase H is central to enterprise agility and value.

A high-functioning architecture team assures they will prepare for the future, while everyone else is running the store. Or, in TOGAF terms, consider whether the “enterprise architecture capability meets current requirements?”

Again the question to ask is, “where were you when the risks piled up?”

I know my team meets the current requirements. We architected a COVID-19 response and led the readiness (Phase G). I’m proud of this performance in terms of impact and for the practice. We didn’t cut corners. I have the SABSA business attributes profile, & risk domain, Navigate gap, work package, and strategy alignment models. Our Kanban-based Predictable EA approach kept the other architecture development work moving.

One of the most common requests I get is to tell the stories of high-functioning architecture. What we did, how we did it. Next week we are holding a Webinar join us and explore the TOGAF Phase H agile story. True Life EA Webinar: Agile COVID-19 Response.

Now we’re working on readiness to return-to-the-office. Health and safety firmly are the center of our risk domain model. I’m grappling with uncertainty. We’ll probably need more flexibility.

We'll keep monitoring the world and the value from our architecture in TOGAF Phase H.

In these times, I hope that you and your families are well and safe.

Stay safe.

EA Stories

One of our most common requests is stories of high-functioning architecture.

What we did, how we did it.

You can find some in our TOGAF Examples. This time, we recorded a Webinar to tell the story of an enterprise architecture team's responce to a disruptive event.

True Life EA Webinar: Agile COVID-19 Response.

Crash & Burn Stories

In the Enterprise Architecture Graveyard we tell crash & burn stories. If you see crash & burn practices, stop! Stop now!

Enteprise Architect's Guide

Download the Enterprise Architect's Guide. TOGAF Series Guide on developing useful enterprise architecture.

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