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On Standards. Disputes, Process Failure and Issues.

14 Sep 2014

Disputes are possible at various stages during the standards process in an Enterprise Architecture Community. To achieve the goals of openness and fairness, such conflicts should be resolved by a process of open review and discussion.

This article discuses some high-level procedures that I’ve employed in an Enterprise Architecture Program to address disputes that cannot be resolved through the normal processes whereby domain teams and ad hoc working groups and other process participants ordinarily reach consensus.

Domain Team and Ad Hoc Working Group Disputes

Any stakeholder may disagree with a domain team or ad hoc working group recommendation regardless of affiliation with the domain team or ad hoc working group. Disagreements may arise because a stakeholder feels his/her own views have not been adequately considered or the body has made an incorrect technical choice that places the quality or integrity of the bodies’ products in significant jeopardy.

A person who disagrees with an architecture domain team or ad hoc working group recommendation shall always first discuss the matter with the architecture domain team’s or ad hoc working group’s chair(s), who may involve other members of the architecture domain team or ad hoc working group in the discussion.

If the disagreement cannot be resolved, any of the involved parties may notify the Enterprise Architecture Office. The Enterprise Architecture Office shall attempt to resolve the dispute.

If the disagreement cannot be resolved by the Enterprise Architecture Office any of the parties involved may then appeal to the Enterprise Architecture Governance Committee. The Enterprise Architecture Governance Committee shall then review the situation and attempt to resolve it in a manner of its own choosing.

The Enterprise Architecture Governance Committee decision is final with respect to the question of whether or not the standards processes have been followed and with respect to all questions of technical merit.

Process Failures

Procedures ensure openness and fairness in the standards process and the technical viability of the standards. The Enterprise Architecture Program is the principal agent of the organization for this purpose, and it is the Enterprise Architecture Office that is charged with ensuring that the required procedures have been followed, and that any necessary prerequisites to a standards action have been met.

If an individual should disagree with an action taken by the Enterprise Architecture Program in this process, that person should first discuss the issue with the Enterprise Architecture Office. If the Enterprise Architecture Office is unable to satisfy the complainant then the program as a whole should re-examine the action taken, along with input from the complainant, and determine whether any further action is needed. The Enterprise Architecture Office shall issue a report on its review of the complaint to the Enterprise Architecture Governance Committee.

Should the complainant not be satisfied with the outcome of the program review, an appeal may be lodged with the Enterprise Architecture Governance Committee. The Enterprise Architecture Governance Committee shall then review the situation and attempt to resolve it in a manner of its own choosing and report to the IT Governance Committee on the outcome of its review.

If circumstances warrant, the Enterprise Architecture Governance Committee may direct that the Enterprise Architecture Office decision be annulled, and the situation shall then be as it was before the Enterprise Architecture office rendered the decision. The Enterprise Architecture Governance Committee may also recommend an action to the Enterprise Architecture Office or make other recommendations as it deems fit. However, the Enterprise Architecture Governance Committee may not preempt the role of the Enterprise Architecture Office by issuing a decision premature to Enterprise Architecture Office’s opportunity to render a decision.

The Enterprise Architecture Governance Committee’s decision is final with respect to the question of whether or not the documented standards process has been followed.

Questions of Applicable Procedure

Further recourse is available only in cases in which the processes are claimed to be inadequate or insufficient to the protection of the rights of all parties in a fair and open process. Claims on this basis may be made to the IT Governance Committee. The IT Governance Committee shall acknowledge such an appeal and shall at that time advise the petitioner of the expected duration of the IT Governance Committee’s review of the appeal. The IT Governance Committee shall review the situation in a manner of its own choosing and report to the Enterprise Architecture Program on the outcome of its review.

The IT Governance Committee’s decision upon completion of their review shall be final with respect to all aspects of the dispute.


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