Sandra McCoy, Executive Director for Enterprise Architecture with Kaiser Permanente, gave this talk, subtitled as “Architecting Standardization in a Complex Healthcare Organization.”
She mentioned that the challenges her team faces are that architects would like to work in a nice orderly fashion, but the environment never allows for that. It’s an uphill battle, with blind curves, treacherous consequences, insufficient resources, etc.
They chose to start with standards, focused on defining where they wanted to go, and less so on defining where they currently are. Standards must be clearly visible and easy to find. Their concepts must be easily understood, and they must be an enabler. They need to be marketed as an enabler and a safeguard.
One interesting anecdote in the discussion was that they initially created a big excel spreadsheet with their standards and got challenged by stakeholders to do something more innovative/cutting edge. It’s a great example that we’re always marketing ourselves in everything we do.
She reinforced the earlier points from Bill Cason and Warren Ritchie that we have to be able to describe our assets and resource to demonstrably show dependencies and impacts to business leaders as part of the decision making process.
In the Q&A portion, one person had caught that she had a box labeled “Innovation Standards.” This is the category for technologies that are under investigation that they wanted to track, including the results, to avoid having a bunch of people looking at the same thing in two or more different areas, or to also make the results of prior investigations available to others.
Her lessons learned were:
- Go slow to go fast: plan your approach (before you start talking to people), architect the 5 year vision, and create templates, messaging, RACIs and roaadmaps.
- Don’t market what you can’t support: Their repository has sold itself, people want the results but not the work (organization needed to participate to provide data for the repository), and create a collaborative approach.
- Don’t forget to practice what you preach: Architect first, ensure the EA tools and stack are standards, and architect a comprehensive enterprise architecture solution.