The Enterprise Administration Discipline: Scaling Agile Software Development
|The Enterprise Administration discipline extends iterative/agile processes such as the Rational Unified Process (RUP), Extreme Programming (XP), or Scrum to define how an organization creates, maintains, manages, and deploys physical and informational assets in a secure manner. The goal is not to simply add a new level of bureaucracy, but rather to streamline these activities: it is easy to see how a bureaucracy could be formed within your organization as you read this article, but as always my advice is to remain as agile as your situation permits. Some people look at enterprise administration as an extension of the Operations and Support discipline, but we separate it because its activities cross almost every discipline within the Enterprise Unified ProcessTM (EUP). In particular, this is a fundamental aspect of the advice provided by the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL). Like any phase or discipline within the EUP, different organizations will apply the activities contained within this discipline in different ways. Do what makes sense in your environment. It is important to note that enterprise administration is one aspect of enterprise discipline, a critical scaling factors for ensuring that agile approaches scale to meet the needs of your full IT organization.||
Managing physical assets
Managing information assets
|There are five roles in this discipline, one abstract and four concrete:
The high-level workflow for the Enterprise Administration discipline is depicted in Figure 1 and the detailed amalgamated workflow in Figure 2. This discipline includes the management of physical assets, information assets, and security for the enterprise. One of the most important activities within this discipline is working effectively with the project teams to support their efforts while ensuring that the long-term needs of your organization are still met. An important message of this discipline is that in order for it to succeed your organization must be as agile as possible: it is possible for enterprise-level professionals to work in an agile manner, but they must choose to do so and be allowed to do so.
Figure 1. The workflow of the Enterprise Administration discipline.
Figure 2. The amalgamated workflow of the Enterprise Administration discipline.
The physical assets within your organization include hardware, networks, and your computing facilities. The network administrator is responsible for managing both hardware and networking infrastructures within your organization. This person, if he or she is not someone from the operations and support staff, works closely with these people at all times. The network administrator must keep both the hardware and network plans up-to-date and ensure that information is available and communicated to the various project teams. Network administrators follow the relevant network and hardware guidance to ensure that their work reflects the long-term vision captured within your enterprise architecture model.
Network administrators are involved during the initial stages of a project to help get the team set up with the appropriate hardware, software, and network infrastructure. They will be called upon throughout the Construction phase to help the project team with issues such as networking and infrastructure support and establishing a test environment in parallel with a production environment. At the end of the Transition phase, network administrators are involved to ensure smooth deployment into your production environment. During the Production phase, they help the operations and support staff with any monitoring situations that arise. Finally, when a system is retired, network administrators are heavily involved in sunsetting aspects of the system which affect the network.Facilities administrators are responsible for the computing facilities of the organization, including telecom and network infrastructure creation and maintenance (outside of the IT world, this can also include buildings or undeveloped land). Much like the network administrator, this person is tertiary, working with the project teams throughout all phases, including the Production phase, and helping with any operations and support-monitoring situations.
The information administrator is responsible for managing the information assets (the data, intellectual property, and licenses) of your organization. Figure 3 depicts the management activities for information assets. The information administrator must deal with the following goals:
Figure 3. Manage enterprise information assets workflow details.
The information administrator is responsible for managing the data within the enterprise. This person is normally involved during all phases. The need for flexibility with project teams here is paramount: the team will need leeway to try different things. The information administrator must ensure that before a system goes into production, all of the information assets are correctly defined and in place, including ensuring that licensing is completed. Effective information administrators recognize that:
The next activity for the information administrator is the management of IP; this is critical within organizations because it is a valuable resource. An additional activity performed by an information administrator is license management. License management is important from both a cost and legal standpoint. From the cost standpoint, you do not want to be overspending on licenses for software that is unnecessary. From the legal standpoint, the last thing you need is someone from the Business Software Alliance (BSA) showing up at your organization with claims of piracy of commercial software; besides receiving negative publicity, the imposed fines are steep and can have an impact on your financials. License compliance and adherence to standards are often the last things on the minds of developers, so enterprise administrators will need to mentor and guide teams regarding these issues.
There are two different types of security that a security administrator needs to address:
The melding of both physical and IT security is called convergent security, which is being heavily pursued and supported by both types of security vendors today.
A security administrator should be involved during all phases of the EUP, from setting up new security aspects at project inception to ensuring that after a system is retired, everything from a security standpoint is in line with the organizational guidance. Security administrators must address the following issues:
The primary danger of the Enterprise Administration discipline is that you will create a huge bureaucracy to implement it. Instead, your goal should be to streamline the activities of this discipline so that application teams will want to work with enterprise administrators instead of work around them. You need to communicate with the project teams and gain their respect and trust while educating and supporting them. In short, be as agile as you possibly can for your situation. It is critical that each type of enterprise administrator develops the relevant guidance for his or her specialty and then supports project teams in its application. If the guidance reflects common best practices, if it's written well, if it's easy to conform to, and if it's supported effectively, then project teams should be willing to follow them; you should expect project teams to resist following your guidance otherwise. The guidance includes:
The Enterprise Administration discipline within the EUP extends the RUP to cover the administration needs from an enterprise level. This discipline includes managing both physical and information assets and the security for the enterprise; it also includes information on how to support project teams with the various initiatives and activities within this discipline.
|The Enterprise Unified Process: Extending the Rational Unified Process by Scott W. Ambler, John Nalbone, and Michael Vizdos. Whereas the RUP defines a software development lifecycle, the EUP extends it to cover the entire information technology (IT) lifecycle. The extensions include two new phases, Production and Retirement, and several new disciplines: Operations and Support and the seven enterprise disciplines (Enterprise Business Modeling, Portfolio Management, Enterprise Architecture, Strategic Reuse, People Management, Enterprise Administration, and Software Process Improvement).|
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