I don't believe identifying a chief architect in Step 1 will be an issue, but pulling together the team of trained EA architects might be. I would imagine that, specifically, Steps 2 and 3 of Phase I would be the most challenging for VUSD. Actually, "challenging" isn't quite the right word. I believe the cooperation, vision, and mindset of department leadership is in place to allow EA to be successful; these steps will simply require the most investment of learning, time, and the creation and implementation of some new processes and habits. With the current way the various departments operate, establishing implementation methodology, EA governance and links to all management processes would require total teamwork and re-mapping of how things are done. I wouldn't anticipate buy-in to be an issue.
I am not sure what would make these Phase I activities more successful, except team-building, with district visioning at the core, and much information and rationale for the reorganization of how the district would operate. The stakeholders not familiar with EA would have much learning to do in order to adopt and implement a new way of organizing, planning, decision-making, and leading. Our IT director confirmed for me that VUSD's current architecture is the Blueprint (LCAP), which contains the eight strategies to be addressed, with allocated funding linked to each strategy. It took some EA mindset for district leadership to create and agree upon the eight strategies, so the next jump to EA implementation shouldn't be too difficult.
Bernard, S. A. (2012). An introduction to enterprise architecture.
In VUSD we have a separate technology plan, but technology is written into our district architecture, the Blueprint For Educational Excellence (our LCAP), in strategies two and seven specifically. So it seems VUSD has taken both approaches. I wonder if eventually VUSD will lose the separate technology plan? Last week I had a very informative meeting with our IT director, DeWayne Cossey (THANK YOU DeWayne!) who shared helpful "perspective" information. In DeWayne's words, VUSD is "technology heavy" at the moment. He explained, very well, what he means by that. Here is my interpretation: Over the past few years VUSD's C&I department has been through some transition (partly internal, and partly due to implementation of Common Core) and curricular goals for the district are also going through transition. For that reason, as IT moved forward with purchasing technology for the district in its goal of becoming 1:1 with devices for students, and having the hardware and infrastructure to set up conditions for ubiquitous computing abilities, they chose technology based on usability rather than based on curricular goals. So the district is technology heavy, and on the C&I side, there is a bit of catching up to do in terms of setting those clear district curricular goals and also implementing PD for teachers that integrates both the technology and addresses the curricular goals. Maybe when C&I has settled into its transition and the PD is in place for teachers, It might be a natural next step to fully integrate the technology plan into the district strategic plan so that there is only one plan.
This week I completed a brick for technology. I didn't know what a brick was in the world of enterprise architecture before this week. I quickly learned that it is a method of analyzing, organizing, and planning for various very specific topics involving technology within organizations. It is a simple, dense method of looking at current and future standards and protocols, which allows for streamlined planning that leads to maximized financial and output efficiency. An organization would create a brick for every separate type of technology they have, and update it frequently. A brick looks like this:
This image as a definition came from the National Institutes of Health Enterprise Architecture. Once I understood what each of the categories embraced, this came into focus as a great tool. For my assignment I chose to put learning management systems for VUSD into the brick, as our district will need to adopt a new LMS in the near future. It was relatively intuitive to know what to include in each category, although at times there was some overlap that felt a bit ambiguous. I hope I completed it correctly. I can absolutely see how creating and using a brick for my own teaching tools and even teaching strategies would be very helpful. At specific school sites I could see grade level teams creating bricks to keep track of what tools they are using to teach and assess, so that they stay current and focused on their ultimate goals, retiring tools as necessary and replacing those with new tools that have been tracked and researched. A principal would be able to create bricks as a way to keep track of products that are used school-wide. At a district level I would imagine there could be many, many bricks for all of the various and many products used district-wide. But what a great, brief, visual to get a researched, balanced, at-a-glance look at a particular category for an organization. I would think that school districts would want to use tools like this to keep them on track and help to make decisions, especially when budgets are tight and money must be allocated judiciously.