EPA, FAA officials aim to build 'logical, uncomplicated' tools

FAA program director Thomas R. Fulcher gave tips based on his experience working on an enterprise architecture.

Henrik G. DeGyor

Debra Stouffer, EPA's chief technology officer, said her team is using an interactive tool to build business cases for IT projects.

Henrik G. DeGyor

The Environmental Protection Agency and the Federal Aviation Administration are building online tools to plan their enterprise architectures.

Speaking at a recent Washington conference, EPA chief technology officer Debra D. Stouffer said the Federal Enterprise Architecture Business Reference Model serves as a useful starting point for business case development. Many agencies compile lengthy documents about what they would like to invest in, finding duplications only at the last minute, she said.

EPA project managers will have an interactive guide to preparing business cases in a 'logical, uncomplicated and timely' format, so they aren't frustrated during the June-to-September crunch.

'It's Oct. 8 and as far as I'm concerned, we are seven days late in the fiscal 2005 process,' Stouffer said.

The preparation schedule sets target deadlines, and electronic reference materials for compliance with the Government Paperwork Elimination Act and other regulations are only a click away, she said. The interactive guide will be Web-enabled.

Also at the conference, two FAA officials demonstrated a prototype enterprise architecture portal.

Thomas R. Fulcher, program director of the FAA's Information Management Division, said his group started out with existing components such as the agency's extensive metadata repository. They focused first on administrative systems, which are less documented than airspace systems.

FAA is following the Federal Enterprise Architecture Framework 'because we feel it epitomizes best practices and is widely understood,' Fulcher said. 'We're delving into areas that people don't want to talk about,' so senior management support for the effort is crucial.

Fulcher gave several tips for architecture projects:
  • Don't overplay expectations.

  • Make sure there is enough money before the project starts, because a supplemental request is never well-received.

  • Web-enable the architecture.

  • Always engage in outreach.

FAA officials are now interviewing candidates for chief architect and are setting up a program office for enterprise architecture. The architecture portal has cost about $940,000 to develop over the last nine months, Fulcher said.

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