OMB issues updated EA documents

As agencies develop their fiscal 2008 budget requests over the next few months, the Office of Management and Budget’s Federal Enterprise Architecture Program Management Office recently delivered a number of updated documents to make that process easier — or at least run more smoothly.

OMB published the latest version of the Federal Transition Framework with 15 new cross-agency initiatives for a total of 18. The FTF gives agencies a standard way to describe cross-agency initiatives, and makes sharing that information easier. While agencies will not have to use the FTF until the 2009 budget cycle, it does provide a single source of information describing these areas, said Dick Burk, OMB’s chief architect in a letter to agency CIOs and chief architects.

Burk’s office also released the new EA assessment guide, which will be used as a part of the 2008 budget process, and a FEA Practice Guide. The Practice Guide suggests techniques for CIOs and architects to describe how their architecture can provide business and mission value to non-IT people.

The EA Assessment Version 2.1 is more of an update than a full revision, Burk said in another letter to agency CIOs and chief architects.

Agencies have until Feb. 28 to submit their EAs so OMB can assess them under the new framework. OMB will score agencies’ EA and include the results in the second-quarter President’s Management Agenda scorecard, Burk said.

Additionally, OMB issued a revised consolidated FEA reference model that includes information on all five models — Business, Technical, Performance, Data and Service Component.

FTF Version 1.0 follows a pilot version OMB released in September. The initial version focused only on three cross-agency initiatives — the move to IP version 6, E-Authentication and the IT infrastructure Line of Business Consolidation initiative. The newest version adds 15 new projects, including all eight LOBs, such as human resources and financial management, and the Integrated Acquisition Environment, Information Sharing Environment and Grants.gov portal.

For each initiative, the FTF provides a standard way of describing each project based on the each FEA reference model.

“We have already seen how improved agency access to information describing cross-agency initiatives, coupled with existing processes to assess and verify the use of this information, can help agencies rapidly adopt common solutions and approaches,” Burk said.

Under the new assessment framework, OMB will continue to assess agency EAs in three areas: completion, use and results.

OMB’s changes include:
  • An emphasis on the development of segment architectures and incorporation of the FTF’s cross-agency initiatives in the completion section.

  • Moving some criteria to use from results section.

  • Revising the results criteria to emphasize integrated performance measurement of the EA initiative.

  • Supplying distinct descriptions of the maturity levels for each capability.

  • Updating the assessment scoring algorithm. Agencies need to score at least 4 out of 5 for completion and at least 3 out of 5 for use and results.

Finally, in the Practice Guide, OMB gives agencies information about what a segment architecture is, how to develop it and developing an enterprise transition strategy.

A segment architecture is a scalable and repeatable process for architects to show business people how EAs can deliver value to the business areas. OMB said “this process helps to establish clear relationships between strategic goals, detailed business and information management requirements and measurable performance improvements.”

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