So you have an enterprise architecture ... How well does it work? Here is a quick test, a mere 5 questions, intended to help evaluate it.  But first a few rules;

This is only applicable to DEPLOYED architectures.  Generally, deployed means stable and used by at least 2 applications for at least 3 months. Of course you get valuable bonus points for having more than 3 applications deployed on a single enterprise architecture for 6 months or more.

The test, as well as its results will be most meaningful if you were involved in both the development and use of the architecture.

Finally, this test is intended to be a team activity (please include stakeholders).  There may well be more value in discussing the questions than actually answering them.

Try to answer the questions concisely... I have some discussion of each question a little further down.

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Q1) how long did it take to field the last application in the  enterprise ?

Q2) how much money was saved that can be directly attributed to the enterprise architecture ?

Q3) Which business activities have improved that can be directly attributed to the enterprise architecture ?

Q4) What IT processes have changed that can be directly attributed to the enterprise architecture ?

Q5) How has your enterprise architecture effected communication between the IT teams, the business managers, and the users of the products of the business ?

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That’s it. So, how did you do?  First, did you meet the initial qualifications ? If so, consider yourself in the top 10% (ok I confess this number lacks any real scientific credibility but it 'feels' right to me ) of all organizations claiming to have an enterprise architecture.  Many organizations are so beaten by change, either or technical or organizational, that they fail to maintain a stable base which an enterprise architecture may provide.  Change will continue to happen but the architecture underlying corporate applications should seem more evolutionary not revolutionary.

Discussion …

1) The first question, worth 10 points, how long for the first application to be deployed on the enterprise architecture, is meant to provide several metrics;

        Did you have value designed in?

        Did you have participation from at least one application team?

        Did you have BOTH short and long term goals in place as you built the architecture?

2) By tracking how much money was saved we can see if there is a clear and demonsratable return on investment.  Ideally, ROI calculations will include the costs associated with both development and operation of the enterprise architecture.  Give yourself 10 – points for an honest assessment and another 10 points if you have clear return.

3) Improvement in real business activities sketch an outline of value the enterprise architecture provided in the less tangible areas.  Consider reductions in time spent working with partners would certainly be considered an improvement to the business but won't be captured in the ledgers.  Nor will improved employee satisfaction if historically repetitive tasks are eliminated.  10 points for improvements to the business and 25 points for increasing employee satisfaction.

4) Finding a deployed enterprise architecture that did not have some associated change in IT process would be a serious red flag. – 50 points if you can’t identify the effects to IT.  A healthy enterprise architecture breathes through the IT process.  However if you did it add rigor in the form of reviews or milestones?  Your cross application / cross domain issues surface more easily? Or are resolved more efficiently?  Even if test become an equal partner with development and hardware infrastructure? You get another 5 points.

5) A sound enterprise architecture binds software development , hardware operation, and business management into a continuous feedback cycle.  If your architecture has encouraged or enabled the organizations to interact in more positive ways, give yourself 20 points.

Now add your points up, write them on a piece of paper, and throw it away.  This isn’t about the score.  Just another opportunity to consider the value of a well executed enterprise architecture.