FAA official describes agency's blueprint efforts

Divide an enterprise architecture project into manageable chunks and conquer people's fears by showing them some short-term benefits from the effort, the Federal Aviation Administration's enterprise architect said today.

Paul Martindale, enterprise architect with FAA's Office of Information Systems, presented a case study of the agency's enterprise framework project at the GCN Management Conference at FOSE.

'Enterprise architecture is a tough nut to crack,' Martindale said, noting that FAA had tried to construct such an architecture two or three times before its current effort began. He also cautioned against developing shelfware, a massive set of documents that never leaves the bookcase. 'You can't realistically use that in day-to-day operations,' he said.

As FAA officials develop their framework, they are constantly checking it against the Office of Management and Budget's federal enterprise architecture, Martindale said. For instance, the FAA's National Airspace System, its line of business that governs air traffic control and regulates airports, maps into the 'services to citizens' part of the OMB's business reference model.

Martindale showed conference attendees several features of the FAA enterprise architecture portal that runs on the agency's intranet. Pricewaterhouse Coopers Inc. of New York, now part of IBM Corp., interviewed more than 170 business and technical subject matter experts to create the portal.

Portal users can select one of six subject areas, such as finance and human resources, and then the type of architecture, such as business, data, applications, technical reference model or service reference model. Some of the architecture sites are more fleshed out than others.

The portal consists of off-the-shelf Oracle Corp. database and portal applications plus Microsoft Visio diagrams and charts, Martindale said.

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