An Enterprise Architecture Approach for Assessing the Alignment Between Projects and Goals

An Enterprise Architecture Approach for Assessing the Alignment Between Projects and Goals

João Costa (Instituto Superior Tecnico, University of Lisbon, Portugal), André Vasconcelos (Instituto Superior Tecnico, University of Lisbon, Portugal) and Bruno Fragoso (Instituto Superior Tecnico, University of Lisbon, Portugal)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 22
DOI: 10.4018/IJITPM.2020070104
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Abstract

Enterprise architecture existing approaches are expected to support the organization's evolution from a current state to a future one. Although some researches address the identification of the alignment between projects and strategic objectives, the measurement and quantification of this architectural alignment, considering the information system architecture quality attributes, is not usually considered when defining or implementing projects. This paper contributes to fulfil this gap by extending Archimate enterprise architecture framework and proposing a 4-step approach for assessing the alignment between enterprise projects and goals, namely 1) identify the alignment between the projects and the strategic objectives, 2) identify the quality attributes derived from the strategic objectives, 3) identify the applicable metrics to the projects' architecture, 4) quantify the alignment level between the projects and the strategic objectives. The results show that it is possible to use enterprise architecture for selecting projects that have higher impact on the company's strategy.
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Introduction

For business success, organizations must master the definition and implementation of their strategies. However, the best strategies can be useless without the proper implementation (Unit, 2013). When formulating the organization’s strategy, Quiros (2009) highlights the importance of the organizational alignment. Organizational alignment requires the knowledge about the organization’s goals and objectives (Garcia et al. 2018).

Projects must add value to organizations and the expected return on investment. Although the Project Management Office (PMO) supports the alignment of projects with the organization's strategy (Otra-Aho et al., 2019), projects tend to have a weak alignment with the business strategy because most of them are conceived to solve urgencies in operations or to answer to senior managers’ specific requirements (Anyosa Soca 2009), (Garcia et al. 2018). There are many models of business strategy, for instance: balanced scorecard, and business motivation model (Kaplan & Norton 1996), (Kippenberger 1998). Few of them define project initiatives. Additionally, in the project portfolio management the alignment with business strategy is poorly considered. This misalignment contributes to a weak strategy execution (Andersson & Chapman, 2017), (Shenhar& Holzmann, 2017), (Alsudiri, Al-Karaghouli & Eldabi, 2013), (Patanakul & Shenhar, 2012).

Enterprise architecture (EA) provides the tools needed to translate corporate strategy into daily operations. EA provides a path between strategy and execution. It allows understanding how operations help to achieve the organization’s strategic objectives (Jonkers et al. 2006).

To measure the alignment level between the organization’s projects and strategic objectives, this research uses Archimate and EA. Archimate is the standard language for modelling the EA. It also enables enterprise architects to describe, analyze and visualize the relationships among business domains in an unambiguous way (Group 2017). This research supports organizations in quantifying the alignment between projects and strategic objectives, in order to efficiently manage corporate resources.

The methodology applied is the Design Science Research Methodology (DSRM). This method solves the domain problem and has six steps: problem identification, goal setting, design and development, demonstration, evaluation and communication (Peffers et al. 2007). DSRM aims to create and evaluate technological artefacts to solve organizational problems. Such artefacts include constructors (vocabulary and symbols), models (abstractions and representations), methods (algorithms and practices), and instances (implemented and prototypes).

Section 2 describes the related work that identifies important concepts to the definition of the proposed solution, supporting the problem identification step of the DSRM. Section 3 presents the proposed solution which quantifies the alignment between projects and the strategic objectives, according to the steps goal setting, and design and development of the DSRM. The solution consists of four steps: i) identification of the alignment between an organization’s projects and its strategic objectives, ii) identification of the quality attributes associated to the strategic objectives, iii) identification of applicable metrics to measure the quality attributes in the project architecture and iv) quantification of the alignment between the projects and strategic objectives. Section 4 applies the proposed solution in a government-owned company, implementing the demonstration, and the evaluation steps of the DSRM. Finally, section 5 provides the conclusions of this scientific communication (last step of the DSRM).

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