Fail fast, move on

1-day estimation of a new demand’s complexity provides reliable cost assessment for BUs

I can give a pretty good cost and resource estimate on the new demands to business teams within a few hours. This means that we can go to market with the right offering, faster. Business units started to see my team as a key information source for prioritizing and planning their disruptive ideas.

Tamás Nacsák

chief enterprise architect, Magyar Telekom

Business success depends on selecting those ideas with the greatest positive impact and then implementing them quickly. This is exactly what enterprise architects, empowered with a live knowledge base, can help idea-makers with. Thus, EA has a direct influence on the company’s competitiveness.

During idea creation, it is not necessary to know the exact breath of a project – what business people really need to know is the magnitude of idea. Is it 10k, 500k or 2m? They can compare this estimate with the anticipated business benefits and decide whether the idea makes any sense or not.

From idea to rough specification

A business idea will never be too specific. Discussing and analyzing it for a while, will make it more concrete. Discussing and analyzing it with a supportive enterprise architect, will confine it within boundaries and provide business people new perspectives.

High-level plan and estimate

Once the idea is defined, enterprise architects can create a high-level solution design with the help of the up-to-date EA knowledge base. They will do 3 things:
 

  1. Create a new proposed project in SAMU;
  2. Specify the modifications it should do on the architecture: components and dependencies it creates, modifies or removes;
  3. Verify the design with the idea owner;

This is the high-level design of the HR outsourcing initiative. At this stage, architects do not need to detail these modifications in depth – those can be added later and updated as the project progresses.

Upon marking a component to be modified, SAMU pulls in the existing dependencies of the item – this is done to help assess all the consequences of a particular change at an early stage.

What architects get is a pretty good assessment of the overall impact of the idea.

What business teams receive is a super fast yet good estimate of the costs and resources needed to deliver a solution to the idea.

Drop it out or work it out

Fast costing, based on the initial high-level solution design, empower business teams to make decisions about the business value of emerging ideas with the speed of light. Prioritizing the ideas based on real cost compared to business benefits, allows teams to highly effectively lead the company to a competitive edge.

Undecided? Need more specific information? – Work out the project architecture design with field architects in greater detail. You can all collaborate over one design built from the same shared components in the EA repository. This will ensure a common understanding of the required changes.

We have customers, who include the high-level designs into tendering documents as a technical description for the required solution. Like this, tenderers will have the same solid architecture requirement information in a standard structure, which increases clarity and results in better quality proposals and solutions.

Continuous governance

High-level solution designs place the solution into an end-to-end architecture context. This is important not just for the initial decision making, but also lead to better decisions going forward:

  • Throughout the project as emerging changes are quickly evaluated – even more importantly in agile method based projects;
  • After go-live, provide a clear-cut architecture dependency knowledge base to operations people, who will need to ensure availability 24x7;
  • Support in any internal or external audits, when you must prove compliance to data handling, business continuity or security;
  • For any future projects that may build on the delivered solution.

Therefore, plans are never static – they live continuously in a shared repository. Project lead architects maintain project designs continuously and make decisions on the emerging changes.

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