EA & FEAF Certification Training – Helping You Drive Results

Leaders from across our DHS EA community attended training from June 16-20 as part of the Foundational Federal Enterprise Architecture Framework (FEAF) v.2 certification program. Designed and led by EA Principals, the course was aimed at anyone who will be serving on EA planning teams or who could be impacted by the work that architects do, such as developers and program managers. The course is designed to help people understand not only their roles and what outputs must be produced in a FEA effort, but how to understand the context and Federal guidance, how to ask the right questions, and how to find the right information, partners and vendors. Ultimately, this will enable DHS managers to quickly identify opportunities based on better information, make timely and better-informed decisions, and capture the information and decisions made as they navigate the business transformation process from start to finish.

  Course Goals

The course stressed that FEAF v.2 is not just about “business as usual”. FEAF v.2 promotes the understanding that new opportunities and approaches, along with new available guidance, can make a huge difference in your ability to execute the mission, support your agency, customers and partners, and to quickly get more value for the effort and funds expended.

 

The goals of the course were to:

1)   Leverage overall information about EA and FEAF to begin building a cadre of architects and key stakeholders across DHS with a strong foundation who can apply the knowledge they gain and teach it to others while helping to advance the use of EA to support better-informed decision-making at DHS; 2)   Reinforce the sense of community among DHS EAs and support networking with other architects and members of the transformation community in DHS; 3)   Help develop more mature EAs who can work closely with the strategic planning community to use EA as an enabler of strategy to support the new DHS Secretary’s focus on the importance of strategy driving budget vs. the other way around; 4)   Support DHS’ adoption of next generation technologies and approaches such as cloud computing, mobile computing/mobile apps, big data/data analytics platforms, agile developing, “devops”, IT as a service, new network technologies (do we use our own network or use the internet for transport?), and the increasing importance of security architecture, among other considerations; 5)   Help students understand how data quality and data stewardship relate to better information architecture in particular and to EA overall; and 6)   Help students to apply what they learned in a strategic and operational environment.  

Class Benefits  

Since the coursework is operationally-focused and hands-on, attendees were able to apply what they learned within their own EA work environment, while also building better communication channels for greater success across DHS now and in the future. The course therefore provided an opportunity to identify common issues and share best practices targeted toward demonstrable business value/results for key capabilities.

  Examples of Classroom Success  

Dr. Else stated, “We’ve taken the EA training environment and made it actionable instead of having students endure reviewing stacks of PowerPoint slides for four and a half days. The applied nature of the course is also an accelerator for EA teams…showing them that it is possible to ramp up quickly and provide output that is immediately relevant to their transformation jobs and responsibilities. Student feedback was very positive -- a few students shared some actual challenges at DHS and explained how they could be tackled using the Cloud Platform that the course includes.”

He added that the follow-on EA courses after this one—Advanced Applied FEAF and an individual practicum by each graduate of these first two courses—continue with the applied learning approach and environment. Attendees will use proven and readily available methodologies to build architectures/models/artifacts and generate the products/output needed to answer key EA and business questions. The practicum, which would lead to a status as a Board Certified Enterprise Architect in targeted areas of the student’s choosing, must be scoped appropriately for EA/FEAF with the help of an expert mentor.

  Course Schedule and Materials

Access to all course materials is available via smartphone, tablet or computer with internet access on a 24/7 basis. These materials are available to students for up to 3 weeks past the end of a class.

  Student Responses  

He added that by enabling Program Managers, solution providers and enterprise architects to understand the value proposition that EA provides across this diverse group will ensure alignment of various IT initiatives across the DHS enterprise while enabling standardization and interoperability between the diverse IT activities across DHS HQ and the components. The DHS CIOs will also benefit from being allowed to ensure that IT investments are managed are following the Capital Planning and Investment Control Process before applications and systems are deployed to the enterprise.

In addition, the class provided real world, “world class” EA examples and templates that could be tailored for the DHS environment to support adoption of technologies and services, such as cloud computing, agile development, and big data. "You get to walk away from class with an EA tool kit of practices, templates, examples, and a network of DHS architects," she said.

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