Mission Alignment is the process of aligning the organization's enterprise architecture with the organization's mission to ensure the organization's investments in processes and infrastructure most optimally enable and support the organization's mission and vision. Having define mission alignment, nearly all organizations of more than 3 to 9 people do a lousy job mission alignment, aligning their investments with their goals for two reasons, private or hidden agendas and difficulty in benefit measurement.
When you buy a pickup truck and you ask the potential buyer, "what do you intend to do with it?" They'll have an idea, but they won't be able to fathom what you're able to do with it...That's what you're buying--the capability. (emphasis mine)
In my post entitled "System Architect and Enterprise Architect", I outlined the responsibilities of the Systems Engineer, the System Architect, and the Enterprise Architect. The two key responsibilities of the Enterprise Architect are:
- Support for organization's Mission Alignment Process--The organization's decision process to optimize the investments to enable and support the organization's vision and mission and,
- Support of organization's Governance and Policy Management Processes--The organization's processes to optimize the organization's policies and standards to enable and support the organization's vision and mission. I discussed governance and policy management this in a post entitled Standards: a Mission of Government and Governenance.
- CEO backing - The Enterprise Architect requires the authority, at least equivalent to the CFO, to meet either of the two responsibilities. Frequently, achieving the long-term mission of the organization will conflict with increasing short-term ROI. Like good military leaders, CEOs may have to trade "space for time", that is, "long-term" ability to achieve the organization's vision and mission for short-term ROI. Additionally, the CEO must allow the Enterprise Architect two or three (three month iterations) through the mission alignment process (the Mission and Architecture Driven Investment decision process). The reason is that this will get adequate time to calibrate the benefits metrics, go through the learning curve for the processes, and to implement the Asset and Enterprise Architecture Repository.
- Good Systems Engineering,System Architecture, and Enterprise Architecture processes are required. A good mission alignment process (and governance process) will not ensure effective and cost efficient implementations of the investments--only good Systems Engineering and System Architectures will do that.
- Finally, the implementation of an Asset and Enterprise Architecture Repository is required to enable measuring both the "as is" (before and after a transformation) and the potential "to be" functional systems (see my post "Initially Implementing Asset and Enterprise Architecture process and an AEAR").