Open up the lines of communication. At Myers Industries, the IS people in charge of architecture meet with the MIS management team quarterly to suss out any early opposition. To ensure that everybody has the same corporate goals at heart, individual general managers are invited to MIS managers’ meetings.
Know your goals. “Is it time-to-market? Shareability? Low cost of ownership?” asks Bill Rosser, a vice president and research director at Gartner. “You need to know clearly what the benefits of your architecture are and how your needs might change” before you set anything in stone.
Use the buddy system. David Watson, CIO of Enfra-structure, advocates affiliating at least one IT manager with each business function to better explain and sell the benefits of architecture adherence.
Allocate enough staff. If you’re sincere about wanting your architecture to be something other than the next Dead Sea scroll, it needs constant maintenance and fine-tuning. Johns Manville International, a building-materials manufacturer, dedicates two employees to architecture maintenance.
Be brief. Be really brief. “The temptation is to follow up every edict with a 50-page document. But people really want a standard set of guidelines, one to two pages,” says Barry Lovalvo, CTO at Dallas-based Armeta Financial.
Explain consequences clearly. “We try hard to have people understand why we’re asking what we’re asking,” says Myers Industries CIO Andrew Winer. “We say, ’If you work with us, we can support this server remotely. But if you purchase something that has compatibility issues with our servers, it’s going to be three weeks before we can get down there to help you out.’”