"If you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there," said the Cheshire cat to Alice. While Lewis Carroll certainly didn't have \n\nenterprise architecture (EA) professionals in mind when he penned these words in 1865, it bears to mind the difficulties faced by many of today's \n\nEA teams as they strive to be more business-focused and strategically engaged. Many EA programs get started -- and immediately become busy \n\n-- but with a vague charter, unclear expectations, and a goal simply of "being useful." Sometimes they are useful -- they become go-to people for \n\ntechnical issues and firefighting. Or, they find a hot topic that no one else is pursuing. However, "useful' does not build a solid foundation for \n\nadvancing the EA practice.\nDo Enterprise Architects Have Value?It Doesn't Matter Where EA Lives -- So Let's Stop Arguing About ItCIOs might appreciate the firefighting -- but they need high-performance EA practices that are business-focused, strategic, and pragmatic. \n\nGetting there requires a mission and vision relevant to the needs of the larger organization. But having this still gets you only part of the way \n\nthere. You also need to develop a strategy to achieve this vision simply because roles, skills, processes, and relationships have to add up.Whether your EA program is effective at managing technology or helping application development -- or not -- you should plan on a \n\ntransformation. Repositioning EA as business-focused, strategic, and pragmatic doesn't happen by accident -- you are only as good as your plan. \n\nAll aspects of your program (skills, relationships, processes, and deliverables) may need to change. To move your firm's practice of EA forward, \n\nForrester's EA Practice \n\nPlaybook recommends that you:Set Your Mssion and Objectives Using a Combination of Bottom-Up and Top-Down PlanningBy using a combination of bottom-up needs identification followed by top-down harmonization, you can define an appropriate strategic \n\nmission that is relevant to stakeholders, a mission that might otherwise have appeared abstract and disconnected from business needs. A \n\nbottom-up approach looks at the business stakeholders' specific business goals and objectives and the current-state gaps to identify the \n\nspecific objectives and initiatives EA can undertake. However, a list of business-relevant objectives isn't enough to reposition EA. You also need \n\na top-down approach to identify the common values your organization needs and the cohesive mission that knits them together. For example, \n\nthere could be multiple business goals and gaps within a common theme of information availability and quality, suggesting an overall EA \n\nobjective for information as a strategic asset crossing business processes.Build Your Strategy Around EA Capabilities and ServicesStrategy is what separates a successful EA practice from busy one. Strategy looks at EA's current-state capabilities and the larger \n\norganizational context, constructs an appropriate mission, and lays out all the elements necessary to achieve that mission. It defines the key \n\nperformance indicators (KPIs) used to measure progress and results. Moreover, a well-communications and well-executed strategy builds \n\nsignificantly more credibility than any amount of firefighting or chasing down of hot issues. To get started, Forrester recommends using a capability map to translate high-level goals into more specific goals and objectives. Assess \n\nwhat the mission, objectives, and value proposition mean to the outcomes of capability, and set this as the goal. For example, you can set a \n\ngoal for your strategy\/road map capability around embedding it into developing your customer service plans for using social media. EA services connect your capabilities to value for your customers. For each capability outcome, ask what is the service (or services) the EA \n\nprogram must provide to bring about that outcome. Define your services portfolio first, and then the processes, deliverables, and skills needed \n\nto deliver these services. Follow this definition exercise by selecting the key performance indicators that show your services' effectiveness and \n\nvalue.Address Three Key DecisionsAs you work through your strategy development, these critical decisions will bubble to the top:1. The role and responsibilities of "extended team" architecture resources. Most organizations have a core team and an \n\nextended team of architects; the extended team is typically 150 percent the size of the core team. Extended teams typically include project or \n\nsolution architects and technical domain architects. Defining what the EA program needs from this extended team is critical for an effective EA \n\npractice.2. Changes to EA responsibilities and ownership. Enterprise architecture programs typically start out as subject matter \n\nexperts for technologies. With a new, higher-value mission, some existing EA responsibilities may fit poorly -- for example, EA teams that have \n\nfocused most of their resources on technology components may find themselves with insufficient time to build business-oriented future-state \n\narchitectures and road maps. Continuing with these existing responsibilities brings two challenges: they take resources and attention away \n\nfrom the new EA mission, and they leave stakeholders confused about the EA charter and value proposition. Examine these out-of-scope \n\nresponsibilities to see if they can be delegated with oversight to extended team resources, rather than EA ownership deliverable. 3. How architecture governance will be performed. Most organizations have some degree of architecture governance, \n\nwhich may simply be a review of the use of technical standards by IT projects. Business-focused EA programs will need a different approach to \n\ngovernance -- being involved before projects are approved and being enablers of business strategy, not mere protectors of IT standards. Key \n\nquestions include authority and escalation, how to characterize and capture technical debt, how to handle compromises, and scope of \n\narchitecture governance. Alex Cullen is a Vice President and Research Director at Forrester \n\nResearch, serving Enterprise Architecture professionals.