Guideline: Guidelines on Goals and Objectives
Main Description

26.9.1 Importance of Goals

One of the first steps in the development of an architecture is to define the overall goals and objectives for the development. The objectives should be derived from the business goals of the organization, and the way in which IT is seen to contribute to meeting those goals.

Every organization behaves differently in this respect, some seeing IT as the driving force for the enterprise and others seeing IT in a supporting role, simply automating the business processes which already exist. The essential thing is that the architectural objectives should be very closely aligned with the business goals and objectives of the organization.

26.9.2 Importance of SMART Objectives

Not only must goals be stated in general terms, but also specific measures need to be attached to them to make them SMART, as described above.

The amount of effort spent in doing this will lead to greater clarity for the sponsors of the architecture evolution cycle. It will pay back by driving proposed solutions much more closely toward the goals at each step of the cycle. It is extremely helpful for the different stakeholders inside the organization, as well as for suppliers and consultants, to have a clear yardstick for measuring fitness-for-purpose. If done well, the ADM can be used to trace specific decisions back to criteria, and thus yield their justification.

The goals below have been adapted from those given in previous versions of TOGAF. These are categories of goals, each with a list of possible objectives. Each of these objectives should be made SMART with specific measures and metrics for the task. However, since the actual work to be done will be specific to the architecture project concerned, it is not possible to provide a list of generic SMART objectives that will relate to any project.

Instead, we provide here some example SMART objectives.

Example of Making Objectives SMART

Under the general goal heading "Improve User Productivity" below, there is an objective to provide a "Consistent User Interface" and it is described as follows:

"A consistent user interface will ensure that all user-accessible functions and services will appear and behave in a similar, predictable fashion regardless of application or site. This will lead to better efficiency and fewer user errors, which in turn may result in lower recovery costs."

To make this objective SMART, we ask whether the objective is specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and time-bound, and then augment the objective appropriately.

The following captures an analysis of these criteria for the stated objective:

  • Specific: The objective of providing "a consistent user interface that will ensure all user accessible functions and services will appear and behave in a similar, predictable fashion regardless of application or site". is pretty specific. However, the measures listed in the second sentence could be more specific ...
  • Measurable: As stated above, the objective is measurable, but could be more specific. The second sentence could be amended to read (for example): "This will lead to 10% greater user efficiency and 20% fewer order entry user errors, which in turn may result in 5% lower order entry costs".
  • Actionable: The objective does appear to be actionable. It seems clear that consistency of the user interface must be provided, and that could be handled by whoever is responsible for providing the user interface to the user device.
  • Realistic: The objective of providing "a consistent user interface that will ensure all user accessible functions and services will appear and behave in a similar, predictable fashion regardless of application or site" might not be realistic. Considering the use today of PDAs at the user end might lead us to augment this objective to ensure that the downstream developers don't unduly create designs that hinder the use of new technologies. The objective could be re-stated as "a consistent user interface, across user interface devices that provide similar functionality, that will ensure ..." etc.
  • Time-bound: The objective as stated is not time-bound. To be time-bound the objective could be re-stated as "By the end of Q3, provide a consistent ...".

The above results in a SMART objective that looks more like this (again remember this is an example):

"By the end of Q3, provide a consistent user interface across user interface devices that provide similar functionality to ensure all user accessible functions and services appear and behave in a similar way when using those devices in a predictable fashion regardless of application or site. This will lead to 10% greater user efficiency and 20% fewer order entry user errors, which in turn may result in 5% lower order entry costs."

26.9.3 Categories of Goals and Objectives

Although every organization will have its own set of goals, some examples may help in the development of an organization-specific list. The goals given below are categories of goals, each with a list of possible objectives, which have been adapted from the goals given in previous versions of TOGAF.

Each of the objectives given below should be made SMART with specific measures and metrics for the task involved, as illustrated in the example above. However, the actual work to be done will be specific to the architecture project concerned, and it is not possible to provide a list of generic SMART objectives that will relate to any project.

Goal: Improve Business Process Performance

Business process improvements can be realized through the following objectives:

  • Increased process throughput
  • Consistent output quality
  • Predictable process costs
  • Increased re-use of existing processes
  • Reduced time of sending business information from one process to another process
Goal: Decrease Costs

Cost improvements can be realized through the following objectives:

  • Lower levels of redundancy and duplication in assets throughout the enterprise
  • Decreased reliance on external IT service providers for integration and customization
  • Lower costs of maintenance
Goal: Improve Business Operations

Business operations improvements can be realized through the following objectives:

  • Increased budget available to new business features
  • Decreased costs of running the business
  • Decreased time-to-market for products or services
  • Increased quality of services to customers
  • Improved quality of business information
Goal: Improve Management Efficacy

Management efficacy improvements can be realized through the following objectives:

  • Increased flexibility of business
  • Shorter time to make decisions
  • Higher quality decisions
Goal: Reduce Risk

Risk improvements can be realized through the following objectives:

  • Ease of implementing new processes
  • Decreased errors introduced into business processes through complex and faulty systems
  • Decreased real-world safety hazards (including hazards that cause loss of life)
Goal: Improve Effectiveness of IT Organization

IT organization effectiveness can be realized through the following objectives:

  • Increased rollout of new projects
  • Decreased time to rollout new projects
  • Lower cost in rolling out new projects
  • Decreased loss of service continuity when rolling out new projects
  • Common development: applications that are common to multiple business areas will be developed or acquired once and re-used rather than separately developed by each business area.
  • Open systems environment: a standards-based common operating environment, which accommodates the injection of new standards, technologies, and applications on an organization-wide basis, will be established. This standards-based environment will provide the basis for development of common applications and facilitate software re-use.
  • Use of products: as far as possible, hardware-independent, off-the-shelf items should be used to satisfy requirements in order to reduce dependence on custom developments and to reduce development and maintenance costs.
  • Software re-use: for those applications that must be custom developed, development of portable applications will reduce the amount of software developed and add to the inventory of software suitable for re-use by other systems.
  • Resource sharing: data processing resources (hardware, software, and data) will be shared by all users requiring the services of those resources. Resource sharing will be accomplished in the context of security and operational considerations.
Goal: Improve User Productivity

User productivity improvements can be realized through the following objectives:

  • Consistent user interface: a consistent user interface will ensure that all user-accessible functions and services will appear and behave in a similar, predictable fashion regardless of application or site. This will lead to better efficiency and fewer user errors, which in turn may result in lower recovery costs.
  • Integrated applications: applications available to the user will behave in a logically consistent manner across user environments, which will lead to the same benefits as a consistent user interface.
  • Data sharing: databases will be shared across the organization in the context of security and operational considerations, leading to increased ease-of-access to required data.
Goal: Improve Portability and Scalability

The portability and scalability of applications will be through the following objectives:

  • Portability: applications that adhere to open systems standards will be portable, leading to increased ease-of-movement across heterogeneous computing platforms. Portable applications can allow sites to upgrade their platforms as technological improvements occur, with minimal impact on operations.
  • Scalability: applications that conform to the model will be configurable, allowing operation on the full spectrum of platforms required.
Goal: Improve Interoperability

Interoperability improvements across applications and business areas can be realized through the following objectives:

  • Common infrastructure: the architecture should promote a communications and computing infrastructure based on open systems and systems transparency including, but not limited to, operating systems, database management, data interchange, network services, network management, and user interfaces.
  • Standardization: by implementing standards-based platforms, applications will be provided with and will be able to use a common set of services that improve the opportunities for interoperability.
Goal: Increase Vendor Independence

Vendor independence will be increased through the following objectives:

  • Interchangeable components: only hardware and software that have standards-based interfaces will be selected, so that upgrades or the insertion of new products will result in minimal disruption to the user's environment.
  • Non-proprietary specifications: capabilities will be defined in terms of non-proprietary specifications that support full and open competition and are available to any vendor for use in developing commercial products.
Goal: Reduce Lifecycle Costs

Lifecycle costs can be reduced through most of the objectives discussed above. In addition, the following objectives directly address reduction of lifecycle costs:

  • Reduced duplication: replacement of isolated systems and islands of automation with interconnected open systems will lead to reductions in overlapping functionality, data duplication, and unneeded redundancy because open systems can share data and other resources.
  • Reduced software maintenance costs: reductions in the quantity and variety of software used in the organization will lead to reductions in the amount and cost of software maintenance. Use of standard off-the-shelf software will lead to further reductions in costs since vendors of such software distribute their product maintenance costs across a much larger user base.
  • Incremental replacement: common interfaces to shared infrastructure components allow for phased replacement or upgrade with minimal operational disturbance.
  • Reduced training costs: common systems and consistent Human Computer Interfaces (HCIs) will lead to reduced training costs.
Goal: Improve Security

Security can be improved in the organization's information through the following objectives:

  • Consistent security interfaces for applications: consistent security interfaces and procedures will lead to fewer errors when developing applications and increased application portability. Not all applications will need the same suite of security features, but any features used will be consistent across applications.
  • Consistent security interfaces for users: a common user interface to security features will lead to reduced learning time when moving from system to system.
  • Security independence: application deployment can use the security policy and mechanisms appropriate to the particular environment if there is good layering in the architecture.
  • A 25% reduction in calls to the help desk relating to security issues.
  • A 20% reduction in "false positives" detected in the network (a false positive is an event that appears to be an actionable security event, but in fact is a false alarm).
Goal: Improve Manageability

Management improvement can be realized through the following objectives:

  • Consistent management interface: consistent management practices and procedures will facilitate management across all applications and their underlying support structures. A consistent interface can simplify the management burden, leading to increased user efficiency.
  • Reduced operation, administration, and maintenance costs: operation, administration, and maintenance costs may be reduced through the availability of improved management products and increased standardization of the objects being managed.