The EA Game

The EA Game 

Shall We Play A Game?

Enterprise Architecture program management is complex. There are many concerns to consider, and many decisions to make. What happens if your EA team members don’t get proper training? What happens if your team spends too much time of unimportant artifacts? What happens if the architects have too much to do in projects? Or if they are not involved with projects? Or …?

The EA Game is a web-based game which simulates the environment in which enterprise architects work and the decisions they get to make.

The current game allows participants to make decisions about:
* the architect team (roles, competencies, training)
* the EA documentation
* integration of EA in governance
* EA tools
* marketing, communication and politics of EA

The game simulates the outcome of decisions made by participants in the game.

Competing with each other in a common scenario, the participants in a tournament will play a given number of rounds within given time frames. When used on-site, for example in university classes, a round is called off manually, but other tournaments run with regular automatic updates (hourly, daily, weekly).

Decisions, decisions!

By controlling a wide range of decision points, such as how to spend the EA budget, the participants must develop an EA practice. Their progress is measured on over 100 factors, such as:

Enterprise awareness of EA35%
Compliance of EA59%
Resistance to EA41%
Power of EA to enforce principles and standards118
Knowledge about strategic direction61%
Integration into governance structure97%

In tournament mode only one measure matters: The winner is the team with the highest senior management satisfaction level.

Partial game dashboard

How that score comes about is explained in the game dashboard, and the participants can in each round make appropriate decisions to try and impact the satisfaction and the many other parameters.

Since the game is mainly used for educational purposes, some cause-and-effect relationships are overamplified in the game compared to the real world. Also, a few simplifications and “dramatisations” have been made for the sake of the game play. For example, the names of the EA tools the participants can use are fictional and selected on a few generic features.

Generally, however, the game has been designed to reflect the complexities of managing an EA program. In its current design, the game does not impose external changes on the game, but the dynamics of an enterprise are hard enough to grasp and deal with even without such. To spice up the game play in future versions, the game engine is prepared for working with various scenarios (M&As etc).

Partial System Dynamics Model

The game engine is based on a pretty advanced system dynamics model, which builds upon real case studies of companies and their utilization of enterprise architecture. The model is created and maintained in Vensim, and then codified in C# for the website, which runs in a Microsoft environment (ASP.NET/C#, Microsofts Entity Framework and linq).

Want to try the game? Help us expanding it? Register your interest here.

The EA Game is an initiative by John Gøtze and Morten Gryning.

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