Enterprise Architecture Implementation Wheel

Strategy/Goal Matrix

The Strategy/Goal Matrix shows the relationship between the strategic drivers and the organization’s goals to be achieved. The development of goals is critical for defining strategic objectives, guiding architectural decisions, and ensuring alignment between business needs and IT solutions. Goals provide a basis for prioritizing efforts, measuring success, and maintaining focus on achieving desired outcomes for the organization. By using goals effectively, the Enterprise Architect can create well-supported and effective architectures that drive the organization toward its strategic goals and long-term success.

A goal is a fundamental concept used to represent the desired outcome or objective that an organization seeks to achieve. Goals in Enterprise Architecture help define the strategic intent of the organization and provide a clear direction for the development of the architecture. They are essential for ensuring that the Enterprise Architecture is aligned with the overall strategic goals of the organization. By understanding the goals, the Enterprise Architect can design an architecture that supports and contributes to the achievement of these goals.

Definition

So, a goal can be seen as an achievable dot on the horizon. A goal should be achievable within three to five years. This makes a goal a long-term outcome. Goals are directly related to the strategic drivers of the organization.

A goal represents a high-level statement of intent, direction, or desired end state for an organization and its stakeholders [1].

SMART method

When formulating goals, try to set them using the SMART method. This method is based on assigning about five values to a goal to make it concrete. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic, Time-related. It provides criteria to help formulate goals and objectives [2].

ValueDescription
SpecificTarget a specific area for improvement
MeasurableQuantify or at least suggest an indicator of progress
AssignableSpecify who will do it
RealisticState what results can realistically be achieved, given available resources
Time-boundSpecify when the result(s) can be achieved
SMART definition

Applying the method

The application of the SMART method is as follows. First, a goal is formulated using the value Specific. A specific area of interest and improvement is used to define the goal. In this example, the production of lemonade is assumed.

Produce the best lemonade there is.

This goal initially sets a high standard without being very concrete. By adding the other values from the SMART method to the stated goal, it becomes more concrete and therefore more achievable. After Specific, the value Measurable is applied.

Produce at least one bottle of the best lemonade there is per person worldwide.

The additions of “at least one bottle of” and “per person worldwide” create metrics. Consequently, these can be used to determine whether the goal has been met at any given time. The goal is still not concrete enough and may not be realistic either. Applying the value Assignable has no added value for this particular goal, because the entire company is involved in achieving the goal. The Realistic value, on the other hand, is important to apply to this goal.

Produce at least one bottle of A-class lemonade per inhabitant of the country.

First of all, “the best lemonade there is” has been replaced with “A-class lemonade”. It sounds idyllic to be the best, but only a few actually achieve it. Therefore, it is wiser and more realistic to say that an A-class lemonade is being produced. A second change is to replace “worldwide” with “of the country”. This again makes the goal much more realistic. Of course, it is good to dare to dream, but starting with both feet on the ground will yield more results. A final application is that of the Time-bound value.

By 2030, Lemon-A-de produces at least one bottle of A-class lemonade per inhabitant of the country.

The fictitious company Lemon-A-de has set itself the goal of producing Class A lemonade by the year 2030 in such a way that it is able to produce at least one bottle of lemonade per inhabitant of the country in which the company is located. By applying the SMART method, a feasible, measurable and, above all, realistic goal was created.

Gathering information

As the example above shows, setting goals is a difficult and sometimes lengthy process. The following questions can help to get a picture of what is really important to an organization:

  • What does the organization really want to accomplish?
  • When does the organization want to achieve it?
  • What is most important to the organization?
  • What internal and external factors influence the organization?
  • Where does the organization want to be in three to five years?
  • How can this be made measurable?
  • Is the stated goal realistic enough?

The information about the Principles Catalog described the reason for limiting the number of basic principles, requirements and standards (the rapid growth in numbers due to the amount of branching). The same reason applies to drivers, goals, and objectives. Therefore, for each driver, formulate no more than three to five goals. Remember that each goal is made up of one or more objectives.

Creating the matrix

In order to create a Strategy/Goal Matrix, follow the steps below.

  • Record all the drivers described in the organization’s strategy.
  • Compare the drivers and make sure they are all sufficiently different from one another.
  • Link the goals to the various drivers.
  • Take extra care to link the goals to all possible drivers they have a relation with.
Strategy/Goal Matrix
Strategy/Goal Matrix

Actors such as boards of directors or other forms of senior management are typically responsible for achieving business goals. By visualizing the relationship between the elements, a Strategy/Goal Matrix makes it clear where there may be overlapping responsibilities. It is important to use this insight to ensure clarity about where responsibilities should be placed. This avoids finger-pointing in the event of disappointing results.

More information

For additional information about creating a Strategy/Goal Matrix, please refer to Chapter 8, Section 8.3.3.2, of my book Getting Started with Enterprise Architecture.

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[1] The Open Group, ArchiMate® 3.2 Specification. ’s-Hertogenbosch: Van Haren Publishing, 2023.

[2] G. T. Doran, “There’s a S.M.A.R.T. way to write management’s goals and objectives”, https://community.mis.temple.edu/mis0855002fall2015/files/2015/10/S.M.A.R.T-Way-Management-Review.pdf, 1981.