Roadmaps in Enterprise Architecture: Work Packages and Timelines

In our last post, Roadmaps in Enterprise Architecture: Current Vs Future States Architectures, we linked our approach into IBM Rational System Architect® so that you could see a real world implementation of roadmapping in an Enterprise Architecture tool. In this third instalment we discuss producing work packages that represent pieces of work and how these tie to roadmaps to drive change.

Although Work Packages are useful concepts within ArchiMate®, we find that they are not sufficient on their own. The Work Packages do not have any temporal properties or any notion of time. This makes it difficult to visualize what work is being carried out over what period of time.

Timelines represent a time based view of our work packages. They are important when modeling current and future state transitions, looking at the gaps between them and making decisions on which transition plans to implement.

We have extended Work Packages to include the concept of a Work Package Milestone. A Milestone represents an action or event marking a significant change or stage in a work package. Each Milestone has a date stating its end date.

Again, in this series, we are using IBM Rational System Architect to demonstrate how we’ve enhanced tooling with ArchiMate® extensions. In the ‘advanced edit’ dialog for a Work Package, we can specify a list of Milestones and their end dates.

An architect can identify a set of standard threads or dimensions that run through all Work Packages. These standard dimensions will generally indicate what has been achieved at that Milestone, so that we can look for improvements across a lifecycle.

For each of these threads, there can be a status indicator at any given project Milestone. This is achieved using color-coding so that stakeholders can tell, at a glance, the status of a given Work Package at different points in time.

Examples of these dimensions are Cost Savings, Resource Requirements, Risk, Classification etc. We have included a new diagram to allow users to visualize the Milestones within the context of Work Packages.

Roadmap Milestone view showing Work Packages with status
Figure 1. Milestone view showing Work Packages with status

Figure 2 shows a Program Timeline diagram and contains a series of ArchiMate® Work Packages. The Work Packages are organized vertically and show their Milestones along the horizontal access. Each Milestone is represented as a pie. Its position along the axis is denoted by its date value in the Milestone. Each segment of the pie chart is colored to reflect its thread/dimension value selections.

Modifying Roadmap timeline properties
Figure 2. Modifying the timeline properties

The timeline property can be modified with a start and end date and an interval unit and number. The diagram view will change to reflect the time duration entered and the interval units for the timeline.

In summary, the combination of Work Packages, Milestones and timelines combine to provide an important set of visualizations and potential Return on Investment scenarios that every architect should be interested in. They are an important aid in comparing options and decision making. They also allow us to communicate with other stakeholders as to the expected timeline of their Work Packages givena particular scenario and plateau.

In part 4; Roadmaps in Enterprise Architecture: Lifecycles and Heatmaps, we go on to look at different lifecycles that components of our business and IT landscape move through and how we can ask real analytical questions that help us make better business decisions.

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