I suggested in an earlier post that enterprise architecture should be considered a business, not a technology, initiative. I use the term business-driven enterprise architecture to reinforce that notion.  That also suggests that regardless of who the Business Leaders choose to execute a business-driven enterprise architecture program, it is they who provide governance and accountability for its success.

I generally see the governance process executed as a steering committee of higher-level executives who meet at set intervals with a project group to settle disagreements, make decisions, and approve expenditures for going forward.  The problem with this is that the members of the governance board are generally not familiar enough with the workings of the project to really make informed decisions.

I generally see the accountability process executed even more poorly.  Usually, the person who is accountable for getting the project completed is the Project Manager who is not empowered enough to cut through the other things that tug on his resources, time, and budget.  She must report to the governance committee why the project might be lagging and only receives platitudes in return.

One approach to solving this problem is the assignment of a project sponsor who is a high-level executive who “helps” the accountable project manager get things done.  The success of this approach is determined by the level of engagement by the sponsor in the project.

The business-driven approach would have the project sponsor be a member of the governance board and be the person accountable to the board for the completion of the project.  All project managers report to the project sponsor and are accountable to him.  It is the project sponsor who works with his peers to manage the things that get in the way of completing the project.

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