OMB gives agencies method to measure EA value

The Office of Management and Budget’s enterprise architecture program management office developed the first set of best practices and approaches to ensure agency architects are focusing on mission results.

Kshemendra Paul, OMB’s acting chief architect, said Dec. 4 that the guide helps agencies focus on performance improvement instead of just developing a modernization blueprint.

“When you do an architecture analysis, you need to look at what are the business benefits and look at the business gaps and how you can improve them,” he said during a presentation at the ArchitecturePlus Seminar sponsored by the Industry Advisory Council in Washington. “The practice guidance helps users measure value through established indicators.”

The guide stresses measures through all three phases of an information technology system’s life cycle — architect, invest and execute — said Colleen Coggins, the Interior Department’s chief architect, at the same event.

“The guideline points out common measures, but also tells the agencies to come up with their own,” Coggins said. “The practice guide provides a good discussion for everyone involved from beginning to end.”

The guide is broken into six sections, including the introduction and development of segment architectures, developing a transition strategy, and measuring enterprise architecture program value.

Many agencies have made significant progress around segment architecture, Paul and others said.

Paul added that the CIO Council and his office have formed an interagency team to find and describe best practices around segment architecture. The CIO Council and OMB also are creating interagency teams around enterprise architecture performance management and investment management, Paul said. The segment team is furthest along, while the other two will come about next year.

“The focus is on execution,” he said. “The leading practitioners are the ones leading the groups and are willing to share what they have done. We don’t want to compete EA artifacts, but make them actionable.”

OMB also issued the updated Enterprise Architecture Framework Assessment Guide with minor revisions, Paul said.

The new assessment framework requires less documentation for how agencies measure enterprise architecture program value. However, OMB also raised the passing grade to four out of five for completion, use and results, Paul said.

Last year, OMB rated agencies on a scale of 1 to 5 in three major categories -- completion, use and results -- and 13 subcategories.

Annual agency enterprise architecture assessments are due Feb. 29, 2008.

OMB also put out an updated consolidated reference model with minor updates, including adding intelligence communication as a line of business subfunction in the Business Reference Model.

Paul said that the CIO Council still is developing the practical guide for using services oriented architecture.

“My main challenge is about execution,” Paul said. “It is not about executing architecture, but making sure the architecture is delivering value.”


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