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Iteration Negative One

Agile Enterprise Modeling

As Figure 1 depicts, portfolio management activities don't exist in a vacuum—they're supported by both enterprise business modeling and by enterprise architecture modeling. In the EUP, we split these two disciplines, with enterprise business modeling focused on the business side of the enterprise and enterprise architecture focused on the technical aspects that support the business. Many organizations, particularly mid-size ones, choose to combine these two disciplines because the people performing them work closely together and are often one and the same. Each strategy has its strengths and weakness, so choose the approach best suited to your organizational culture. Enterprise models are crucial for identifying potential systems, determining feasibility, and identifying viable implementation strategies because they provide context for these efforts.

Unfortunately, many agilists are leery of enterprise modeling due to the many anti-patterns exhibited by traditional enterprise modelers (see enterpriseModelingAntiPatterns.htm). Many traditional enterprise modeling efforts run aground when the enterprise modelers focus just on modeling and not on executing the concepts captured in the models. If you choose, enterprise-level modeling can in fact be performed in an agile manner, and at, I describe a collection of techniques for doing exactly that. The main strategies are to keep the documentation light, to work iteratively and collaboratively, and to work actively with the development teams to implement the systems called out in the enterprise models.

The length of Iteration -1 will vary by organization and by system. Sometimes a potential project is identified, fast-tracked, and initiated in a matter of weeks. Sometimes a project languishes in your stack of potential projects for months or even years before it receives funding to kick off Iteration 0. The portfolio management activities encapsulated in Iteration -1 are critical to the success of your IT organization, making Iteration -1 an important part of your overall system lifecycle.

Thanks to Sally Elatta for the interesting conversation that we had around this topic.

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