Thursday, 29 September 2016

Business Architecture " Don't boil the Ocean"

Appropriate modelling to serve stakeholders and communicate particular things is becoming much more the preferred approach than modelling the whole enterprise at all levels of detail.

The business case for a central architecture team is a difficult one to write and to get approved in a changing world. Tool vendors in the majority provide a: holistic model, modle everything approach in their provided databases (meta modals)  and this doesn't help AGILE architecture.

Selling the top down centralised way for doing business architecture is becoming less and less successful as many of these centralised teams are being disbanded in cost cutting programmes. Architecture teams employ expensive people and they need to demonstrate real visible value in pound and dollar terms.

Embedding architecting skills within individuals, who then operate in different roles across the organisation, rather than training specialists and placing them in vunerable teams is growing as the alternative way forward.

Business architecture is evolving and training needs to adapt in response. Through teaching AGILE architecting to support faster and more dynamic responses we can assist. No longer can we justify the cost and time in large centralised modelling teams except in certain strategic situations; such as cost leadership in high volume repeatable activity where controlled repitition is the strategy.

We need to diversify the people across the organisation to maintain and protect the ability to shape and design.

So bin the holistic metamodels! Ask the stakeholder what they what to see and now and model that and stop.

Friday, 16 September 2016

Agile Training

The title suggests some training in Agile approaches, bit of DSDM maybe, SCRUM or Xtreme Programming but what we are talking about is being Agile in training delivery!

Applying lean or Agile principles to training is a little new. Most courses have an agenda, some set slides and a fixed timetable; is this a learner focused approach? If we are not careful this becomes a teacher focused learning experience where we deliver a set programme whatever to a set of delegates. Death by PowerPoint can be the result and how much really gets learnt?

Agile training sets a framework of learning outcomes and a "backlog" of material and resources which are drawn down in response to learner demand. In other words the trainer responds to delegate engagement and delivers what the delegates are interested in; going off the plan is part of the plan.

Of course this type of approach requires a much higher teaching skill set than following a set of PowerPoint's. Many commercial trainers will have difficulty moving away from their serial, step by step, approach. On reflection it is easy to see why this might happen in a world of  content  driven by accreditation and badge collecting.

Accreditation bodies inadvertently create a fixed and rigid approach to training as the content has to be signed off, and to be frank, amendment is bureaucratically fraught and requires more fees to be paid. Accreditation is mostly about fees. So sticking to an unchanging course plan; delivering  time and time again without any reflection and change is the norm. This goes against the theories of teaching CPD big time, yet most commercial training is set in this model.

Training course that change and adapt on each and every delivery in response to learner need are quite rare in reality, but provide a much more flexible and adaptive response to learning requirements. Applying lean principals to learning is an interesting and valuable approach that needs some consideration.