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On Standards. Alignment, Process, and Community¶

In a prior post I discussed "10 Standards Selection Decision Criteria". In this post I discuss how a standard can be defined and the need for a community process.

Organizations are evolving. They realize that there is a vital ersponsibility for information technology to maximize the benefits of providing the best possible product or service through improved business alignment. Enterprise Architecture is a key element in creating a business environment that is both effective and efficient.

Organizations that are driving towards a mature Enterprise Architecture must have a standards process(es). The practices should be concerned with all consensus-driven standards that are developed as part of as Enterprise Architecture Program. In the case of standards developed by other organization, the standards process normally applies to the application of the protocol or procedure in the organization's context, not to the standard itself.

In general, a standard is a specification that is:

  • Stable and well-understood,
  • Technically competent,
  • Recognizably useful in some or all parts of the organization, or is either,
  • Required for integration within the organization or between the organization and its partners or grounded in documented, generally accepted industry or government wide best practices or standards.

A specification is a written description that describes a system, system component, approach, or protocol. Standards are necessary for the inter-working, portability, and reusability of information systems and systems components across the enterprise.

These types of specifications should be written and communicated to an Enterprise Architecture Program community and adopted via a formal review process.

The goals of an Enterprise Architecture standards process should be:

  • Technical excellence,
  • Adoption of proven technology in the environment,
  • Clear, concise, and easily understood documentation,
  • Openness and fairness,
  • Timeliness and
  • Organization-wide distribution and use

Organization should have procedures that are intended to provide a fair, open, and objective basis for developing, evaluating, and adopting Enterprise Architecture standards. At each stage of the standardization process, a specification is repeatedly discussed and its merits debated in an Enterprise Architecture Program Community.