Building an EA maturity model in SharePoint

In this post, I’ll explain how you can easily set up a EA maturity model in SharePoint. In this example, I’ll be using the GAO’s Framework for Assessing and Improving Enterprise Architecture Management (version 2.0). In this post I’ll assume you already understand why you need a maturity model (which I could over in another post if folks are interested…).

Clearly, how a maturity model is structured will impact how you have to set up your SharePoint site to create the model. However, I believe you can take what I present here and easily adopt it whatever model you use (especially the maturity stage setup).

1. Understanding the structure

The GAO’s maturity model stipulates 59 core elements which are the collective practices, structures, activities, and conditions that can permit the organization to progress to increasing higher states of EA management.

The GAO further organizes these 59 core elements by 4 sets of characteristics critical to the successful performance of a program. The GAO model actually has more than one way to categorize by 4 characteristics — each way a unique way to represent an organization. In this example, we’ll be using the “EA Enabler Representation of Core Elements”.  This representation reflects four critical enablers or types of resources within any organization that can be leveraged to effect change. These four categories are; leadership, people (or staff), processes, and tools. In other words, each of the 59 core elements have to do with either something leadership must do, people you must have, processes you must have in place, or tools you must have in order to achieve a certain maturity level of EA program.

The GAO designates a 7 stage maturity model (stages 0 – 6). Each of the 59 core elements are found in one of those 7 stages.

Since we’re going to be showing progress through this maturity model, we’ll need to further track the progress we make in these of these core elements as well as any running commentary as we work on these core elements.

It will be easiest to build this maturity model as a set of lists.

2. Building the lists

The maturity model will be composed of 2 lists:

EA Core elements: this list stores the core elements, their description, any actions we’ve taken on them and their status. (You’ll also note in this example that we have a color coded image to show a sort of dashboard of status. However, I’ve never made alot of use of this, so you can just ignore it).

EA Maturity: the main list you’ll see. This list contains the core element (looked up from the ‘EA Core elements’ list),  the category of critical success category into which the core element fits, and what maturity stage the core element would be found.

You could possibly put the critical success category into the EA Core elements list, but at the time I was building my model, I wanted to keep the option of using other groupings that the GAO model provides. Either way, I don’t think it will affect how you use this model.

Because the ‘EA Maturity’ list will look up values from the EA Core elements list, let’s create the core elements list first.

I won’t go into the details of how to build lists. There are plenty of good tutorials on how to do that. Instead, I’ll simply show you the key properties of these lists.

3. The EA Core elements list

First the EA Core elements list is created with the properties shown in the image below.


Properties of EA Core elements

These are straightforward. The name of the core element and its description will go into the item and description fields. Actions taken will go into the actions field and the status will be a single line of text. (It would be better to have the status as a look up. However, that created difficulties later in development. So for now you’d need to type in a status such as ‘not started’, ‘in progress’, or ‘completed’.)

So that actions can record a running record of what you’ve done for each core element, you’ll want to make sure this field is set for appending changes to existing text. (You’ll probably also want to set it for enhanced rich text if you want to use any sort of tables in your documentation. I know I have.) You can see the settings for actions in this figure.


Settings for actions field

At this point you can begin entering the core elements found in the GAO maturity model. To make things easier, you can find them all listed in Appendix II of the PDF linked at the beginning of this article.

4. The EA Maturity list

The fields used in the EA Maturity list are shown below.

properties of EA maturity

Properties of the EA maturity list

The item field isn’t used so it will remain empty. The critical success attribute is a choice field (leadership, people, processes, tools). The maturity field is also a choice list. You could just have choices of 0 through 6. However, for reasons that will become apparent later, you’ll want the choices for the maturity rating to be more description. So instead of ‘1’, you’ll enter ‘Stage 1: Establishing EA institutional committment and direction’.

The next three fields are linked to the EA core elements list. The first is the actual core element is a look up. The next core element field is a column set to populate when the previous field is selected. The status column is also automatically linked when the core element is selected. Why two core element fields? the second linked on is a link to the item in the original core element list. This means that if you click on that field, you’ll open a model window that shows you the details of that core element.

Again, I won’t go into the details of how to build links to look ups, but here is what the relevant properties are as you build the look up for the core element linked to the original record.


Adding a column based on the look up value of core element

Now you are ready to go through the GAO model (pages 37 – 39) and create a new record in EA Maturity that lists the maturity level, the core element associated (from look up) and the critical success attribute to which it belongs.

5. EA Maturity: Creating the view

Setting the appropriate view is what helps this model present your case for what has been done in your program and what still remains to be done to mature your EA program.

You’ll want your default view to show ‘Core element: Status, Core element, and Critical Success Attribute in that order of columns.

Furthermore, you’ll want the view to group by the Maturity field in ascending order. You may or may not want to set an item limit (I set mine to 30). You can choose to set the groupings expanded by default.

If you’ve set these lists up correctly, you’ll have a functional EA maturity model that can be easily updated. The image below shows the model with stage 1 collapsed and stage 2 open. You can quickly see which core elements are in progress and which have had no action yet. You can also see what type of core elements they are (e.g., tools, leadership, etc.)

View of stage 2 maturity

View of stage 2 maturity

If you need to explain all the process related activities which must occur to achieve a fully matured EA program, you can click on the critical success attribute column and filter by ‘process’.

EA maturity filtered by processes

EA maturity filtered by processes

A click on any of the core elements opens a model window showing that the core element, its description and a running tally of status updates.

Detail of a core element

Detail of a core element

I hope this is of help to those of you leveraging SharePoint in your EA program.

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