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Enterprise Architecture – Linking Teams to the Enterprise

– Knowing where you fit in and the difference you make

Now that the linkage between the delivery and operations of the service has been established and the PM understands how the service enables a capability, it is time to make the connection between the delivery team and the organization.

Enterprise Architecture (EA) is also an age old concept, and again I am sure we have some die-hard experts in our midst on the blog either as authors or readers.

I believe that helping the PM understand EA and its links to Business Architecture (BA) will help to crystallize the role that their delivery team plays in the broader scope of the enterprise.

“An enterprise architecture (EA) is a rigorous description of the structure of an enterprise, which comprise enterprise components (business entities), the externally visible properties of those components, and the relationships (e.g. the behavior) between them. EA describes the terminology, the composition of enterprise components, and their relationships with the external environment, and the guiding principles for the requirement, design, and evolution of an enterprise.[i][ii][iii] This description is comprehensive, including enterprise goals, business process, roles, organizational structures, organizational behaviors, business information, software applications and computer systems.[iv]

PM’s interested in building out their understanding and skill-set in this arena will find that there are multiple frameworks that help an enterprise view itself in terms of EA.

In my current role at Cisco I am engaged in the process of adopting a enterprise architecture framework by ProAct (http://www.proact-ea.com).  The following information is meant only as a reference and not as an endorsement of their services.

ProAct works off-of a framework they call BOST®, which is in reference to the four layers of the enterprise, Business, Operations, Systems and Technology.

According to ProAct, “The essence of architecture is the practice of identifying and structuring components to achieve a planned result. Architecture must take into account the environmental context and the interrelationships of components, both external and internal. Architects deliver “blueprints” and “roadmaps” to designers, engineers, and program managers to enable the “construction” or acquisition of the intended capabilities in a given timeframe.[v]

Using this lens it becomes increasingly clear how the PM plays an important role in connecting the delivery of services into the enterprise and helps them construct or acquire the capabilities.

To learn more about Enterprise Architecture and Business Architecture, check out “Enterprise Architecture As Strategy: Creating a Foundation for Business Execution” on Amazon.


[i] Giachetti, R.E., Design of Enterprise Systems, Theory, Architecture, and Methods, CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, 2010.

[ii] Enterprise Architecture Research Forum, http://earf.meraka.org.za/earfhome/defining-ea

[iii] MIT Center for Information Systems Research, Peter Weill, Director, as presented at the Sixth e-Business Conference, Barcelona Spain, 27 March 2007 [1]

[iv] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enterprise_architecture

[v] http://www.proact-ea.com/html/framework.html

About the Author

Gustav Toppenberg is a Sr. PMO Manager in Cisco's Communication & Collaboration IT group. Gustav is currently responsible for leading the PMO and driving project and operational excellence in his team. During his career at Cisco, Gustav has led several projects in change leadership, acquisition integration, and globalization strategy. He is also part of Cisco IT's transition to a services-oriented organization (technology, process, and culture), enabling a client-focused, value-driven, cost-effective alignment between IT and business. Gustav is a native of Denmark and serves on the board of directors at the Danish-American Chamber of Commerce in San Francisco and the NorCal chapter of ASP (Association for Strategic Planning). He has a background in strategy consulting, program/project management, and global change management. Gustav has an interest and passion for the convergence of business and technology; he is a natural change leader and constant disruptor. He continuously seeks to occupy the gap between business and technology, thereby leveraging technology solutions to strengthen competitive advantages in business. Gustav is an MBA graduate of the Thunderbird School of Global Management, ranked the #1 U.S. Business School for International Business by the Wall Street Journal and U.S. News and World Report. You can contact Gustav at gustav.toppenberg@cisco.com "Some of the individuals posting to this site work for Cisco Systems, Inc. Opinions expressed here and in any corresponding comments are the personal opinions of the original authors, not those of Cisco."
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