Using WorkBoard to Manage Objectives and Key Results for Enterprise Architecture


In an earlier blog, I described how a user can use WorkBoard in Microsoft Teams. In this blog, I am writing about how WorkBoard can be used to define the objectives of enterprise architecture and the associated metrics. TOGAF 9.1 states that enterprise architectures must meet the “strategic, interim, and tactical business objectives and aspirations”. Normally, key elements of the Architecture Vision — such as the enterprise mission, vision, strategy, and goals — are documented as part of a wider business strategy or enterprise planning activity.

There are some tools specifically developed for managing the goals and metrics of enterprise architecture. I’m not performing a comparison with those tools in this blog posting.

What are the Objectives of Enterprise Architecture?

One of the challenges of defining the objectives of enterprise architecture is that they seem to end up being the objectives of IT operations. That is not exactly how it is supposed to be.

TOGAF 9.1 identifies the business strategy, business goals, and business drivers of the organization in Phase A: Architecture Vision. These are assumed to be defined outside of the enterprise architecture activity. I found an article titled Enterprise IT Architecture: Goals, Trends and Perspectives published online on http://www.SandHill.com. The authors provided prospective strategic IT goals (or objectives):

  • Implementing a new business process management methodology
  • Automating and optimizing primary business processes
  • Supporting new products
  • Adapting IT systems to meet new market requirements
  • Estimating required investments in technology modernization
  • Calculating potential financial and efficiency returns from the strategic IT plan

I have a few other enterprise architecture objectives that I want to see included:

  • Improve social collaboration between employees and with outside partners and customers
  • Improve usability of mobile devices with business and web applications for employees and customers

Note: This is not a comprehensive list of goals or objectives by any means. However, I found the article interesting since it also described using the Zachman framework for analysis of an enterprise IT strategy.

Each of these goals (or objectives) could fit into one or more work streams. At least, I am calling them work streams here because that is how they fit into what WorkBoard provides.

  • Operational productivity: improve efficiency to create a quick return on investment
  • Optimization of business processes: include an analysis of the entire process, not just its separate parts
  • Mass customization: Customer involvement results in greater levels of client and market satisfaction

What are the Metrics (or Key Results) for the Objectives?

The metrics should be sufficiently clear so that the vision phase (in TOGAF 9.1) may scope the business outcomes and resource requirements, and define the outline enterprise business information requirements and associated strategies of the enterprise architecture work to be done. For example, these may include:

  • Business requirements
  • Cultural aspirations
  • Organization intents
  • Strategic intent
  • Forecast financial requirements

I used metrics from the following online articles:

12 critical metrics for IT success from cio.com

7 Key Enterprise Architecture Metrics from scribd.com

Obtaining Enterprise Architecture Metrics – Part 1 from microsoft.com (Sadly, this blog post written by Mike Walker is no longer available.)

WorkBoard and OKRs

WorkBoard uses Key Results in place of metrics. The image on the right comes from the Elevate Business Performance with OKRs document published by Workboard Inc.

You can see the flow from Objective to Insight.

However, you don’t see that OKRs (Objectives – Key Results) can be related by using work streams.

My Sample Objective – Key Results (OKRs)

I created a list of OKRs in the table below. These are examples and you should configure OKRs that match your organization’s strategic objectives.

Objective Key Results Rating (examples) Work Stream
Continuous improvement of online services Online application performance. The average time it takes to render a screen or page. Less than 1 second Operational Productivity
Continuous improvement of online services Online application availability. The percentage of time the application is functioning properly. 100% Operational Productivity
Continuous improvement of online services Production incidents. The number of production problems by severity. Zero Operational Productivity
Reducing costs by leveraging common solutions and rationalizing processes, technology, and data. Architectural Integrity. The percent of applications on preferred technologies, another indication of how difficult applications are to maintain 100% Operational Productivity
Improve enterprise architecture delivery Project satisfaction. The average score from post project surveys completed by business partners. 100% Optimization of business processes
Improve enterprise architecture delivery Project delivery. The percentage of projects delivered on time. 100% Optimization of business processes
Improve enterprise architecture delivery Project cost. The percentage of projects delivered within the cost estimate. 100% Optimization of business processes

I also would like to compare the OKRs that I have with other enterprise architects. I suppose that some of the common tools will come with a more complete sample list.

Entering OKRs into WorkBoard

I entered the OKRs into WorkBoard. The three main objectives are displayed below.

I click on the first objective and it expands to display the key results.

I can also open the objective to see the Key Results, Work streams, and Comments.

I click on and I can see all of the work streams. The new workstreams that I created are displayed.

I click on Operational Productivity and the display changes.

I click on the 2 Objectives tab and the two objectives for the Operational Productivity work stream are displayed.

Microsoft Teams

I want to see what information that I can add from WorkBoard to the Enterprise Architecture tab in the Contoso IT channel.

I add Workboard to the Contoso IT team.

I select the Enterprise Architecture channel and click on Set up for the Tab.

I click on the Boards.

I select Operational Productivity. This is the same work stream that I displayed earlier in Workboard. I click Save to continue.

The Operational Productivity board view is displayed – just like I can see it in Workboard.

I can add tabs to display the other work streams, too.

Next I add the Business Review to a new tab in Microsoft Teams. Now I can see exactly what I saw in Workboard. I may not even have to go to the Workboard site.

Next Steps

I need a more robust and complete list of OKRs for enterprise architecture. At least, a better list to start with. Still, I feel like Workboard can be used to manage this information for enterprise architects.

Conclusion

I have added sample OKRs for enterprise architecture. Then I added tabs in Microsoft Teams for a work stream and a business review. I can continue my enterprise architecture work on Workboard from within Microsoft Teams.

It looks like Workboard can be used for managing enterprise architecture OKRs.

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