A New Fork in the Road
How can business architects and project managers work together effectively?
by Raquel Pittman, PMP
There are many roads companies may take toward building more efficient and effective organizations. Two disciplines aimed at facilitating these competencies are project management and business architecture. Yet, there has been some difficulty defining the boundaries between the roles. There is no controversy on the benefit of both ... it's just tough to relate how they work together. This article will attempt to clarify and posit a recommendation.
The business architect - a relatively new designation - is focused on the alignment of an organization's overall strategic goals with its tactical execution. The view of the business architect must encompass several business disciplines for the organization, such as human resources, finance, change management, information technology, business process and strategy, and combine that with a consulting orientation. These resource people should have deep business knowledge combined with expertise working with large-scale, cross-functional processes. They are charged with defining the overall business design for an organization to reach strategic goals.
The project/program manager's focus within an organization is centered on the efficient execution of a defined, temporal initiative - or project. These resource people have the techniques and skills to tactically define, execute, and communicate the project and its results to varying levels in the organization. The benefits of this discipline include facilitating the ability for any organization, business unit, or department to define activities, accurately resource plan, track progress, manage costs, and respond to change.
What's the synergy between these roles?
agree that the ideal resource person in either role will contain
traits of the other. However, what's the synergy between both roles?
In looking at the roles themselves and their discrete objectives,
there is an obvious hand-off.
The business architect will scope a desired organizational goal by analyzing the impacts to various functions and using those results to define the organization's capabilities as it relates to that goal. The project/program manager will optimize the organization's capabilities by using its skill sets to ensure that the initiatives designed to reach the identified goals are completed with a systematic discipline that provides structure, visibility, and timelines for completion.
These two roles are not interchangeable; however, it can be argued that a company cannot optimize its business architect role without the presence of an experienced project/program manager. Both are key tools in accurately scoping and subsequently implementing organizational change.