Bizzdesign’s 2022 state of enterprise architecture report revealed a gulf between the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ of organizational agility. We explore four correlations between the maturity of organizations’ enterprise architecture practices and the ability to support the change and innovation needed to thrive.
The Speed of Change Imperative
The last two years of COVID disruption have taught tough lessons in adaptability. Most organizations were probably looking forward to 2022 as a return to more benign economic conditions. Sadly, world events and inflation seem likely to make the year ahead one of continued turmoil.
Disruption comes from many directions, including war, sanctions, supply chain disruption, and steeply rising inflation.
During the pandemic era, speed of change became the number one organizational imperative. There was little appetite for slow and incremental process improvement in such unpredictable times. Instead, organizations embraced agile like never before.
Slow and Cautious vs. Fast and Confident
The quest for speed poses a challenge to enterprise architects (EAs), many of whom would like to shake off the impression that enterprise architecture is ‘slow’ and ‘cautious’ while agile is ‘fast’ and ‘confident.’
Bizzdesign’s 2022 state of enterprise architecture survey report contains plenty of inspiration for those that want to emphasize that strong EA capabilities help rather than hinder the speed of change. The survey results reveal a strong correlation between EA maturity and organizational agility.
This year’s survey went deep on the theme of agile maturity. We were keen to understand the level of agile maturity in organizations and, more specifically, the degree to which EA teams were adopting agile practices themselves. Moreover, we wanted to know how enterprise architects contributed to agile teams and their technology decisions. Here’s what we found.
EA Maturity Leaders and Laggards
All respondents completed an EA maturity self-assessment, as shown below.
EA Maturity Self-Assessment Matrix
Organizational Agility Compared
Respondents described their organization’s agility using a self-assessment matrix derived from Prosci’s “Agility Attributes Assessment.” You can see the results in the figure below.
Organizational Agility Assessment
To help identify the organizations best able to adapt, we calculated an aggregate agility score for each respondent and found that the average agility score of all respondents was 42 percent. Consult the full report to see how this was calculated.
We compared the agility scores for EA maturity leaders and laggards and found that, on average, leaders outscored laggards by a factor of three:
- EA maturity leaders’ average agility score: 63%
- EA maturity laggards’ average agility score: 21%
Agile Maturity Across the Organization
We asked respondents to describe their organization’s agile maturity using the following matrix.
Five-Level Agile maturity Assessment – Whole organization
As shown in the figure below, nearly 60 percent of respondents chose level 2 or 3 in their self-assessment. The overall average agile maturity score was 2.2.
Agile Maturity Levels
EA maturity correlated with agile maturity, as represented by the average maturity scores shown below:
- Agile maturity of EA leaders: 2.93
- Agile maturity of EA laggards: 1.74
EA maturity leaders have a 1.7 higher average self-assessment score for agile maturity compared to laggards.
Adoption of Agile Practices by EA Teams
We asked EA practitioners to describe how their organization’s EAs had adopted Agile methods in their work. The survey used a similar five-level maturity matrix though we adjusted the answer options to suit an EA team context, as shown below.
Five-Level Agile Maturity Assessment for EA Teams
As shown in the figure below, EA teams appear to be slightly behind their organization in adopting agile work practices. EA teams were more likely to be at levels one and two and less represented at levels three and four.
Agile Maturity Compared for Organization vs. EA Team
EA’s Influence of Agile Teams’ Technology Decisions
We asked respondents to describe how enterprise architects contribute to agile teams and their technology decisions. Answer options were:
- Absent: EAs are never included in Agile projects.
- Ad hoc: EAs are included in a few Agile teams but lack influence.
- Growing: EAs are included in many Agile teams and somewhat influence their technology decisions.
- Established: EAs are usually included in Agile teams and influence their technology decisions.
- Optimized: EAs are always included in Agile teams and have the necessary authority to successfully influence their technology decisions.
As shown in the figure below, we calculated the average influence for all responses and those from EA maturity leaders and laggards by scoring responses zero to four.
EAs’ Influence of Agile Teams’ Technology Decisions
On average, respondents scored 1.52, meaning that EAs’ contribution to agile teams and their technology decisions is somewhere between the two levels depicted below:
To What Extent Do Enterprise Architects Contribute to Agile Teams and Their Technology Decisions?
We were keen to understand if respondents who reported higher agile adoption levels by their enterprise architects also reported more success at contributing to agile teams and their technology decisions. This appears to be the case, as shown in the figure below.
EAs’ Influence of Agile Teams’ Technology Decisions Rises with EA Agile Maturity
According to our survey, top-quartile EA maturity organizations exhibit numerous agility advantages. Compared to organizations with bottom quartile EA maturity:
- Their average organizational agility score was three times higher
- Their average agile maturity was 1.7 times higher
- Their ability to contribute to agile teams and their technology decisions was 2.3 times higher
Moreover, our analysis revealed that EA teams with more mature agile practices contribute more effectively to their organization’s agile teams and their technology decisions.
The State of Enterprise Architecture 2022 report contains numerous other findings and analyses. Get your copy here.
And if you’d like help and inspiration for improving the maturity of your organization’s EA practice, consult the “Next Steps” section of the report, which introduces Bizzdesign’s assessment instruments and maturity model.