Disciplined Agile

Enterprise Architecture Workflow - Internal

The workflow within a Disciplined AgileĀ® enterprise architecture team is depicted in Figure 1.

Enterprise Architecture

Figure 1. The workflow within a disciplined agile enterprise architecture team

There are four major activities:

  1. Envision initial architecture. The enterprise architects will spend several days developing initial, high-level models of the enterprise architecture. Ideally this will be a face-to-face, initial architecture envisioning session where the scope is the entire organization, not just a single solution or value stream. Ideally this is done in an agile modelling room , also called an Obeya room, so as to streamline the communication and collaborative modelling efforts. Such a room is large with lots of whiteboard space, enabling the team to work on several models in parallel (each of which has its own section of wall space). The primary purpose of this session is for the EA team to develop a common understanding, at least a high level, of the current state of the enterprise architecture and a vision for how the team would like to see it evolve. Secondary outcomes include creating some initial artifacts which the enterprise architects will evolve over time, (potentially) meeting one another for the first time, and building bonds between the team members. Potential challenges to this activity include getting an agile modeling room (you may have to convert an existing room or accept lower productivity if you can’t get access to such a room) and the logistics of getting the right people together at the same time.
  2. Collaborate with business stakeholders. On a regular basis enterprise architects work with business stakeholders to understand their needs, work with them to envision the future, and help educate them on the possibilities and constraints of technology. This collaboration may be in the form of working sessions, presentations, or one-on-one conversations. These sessions occur as needed and at times it can be difficult to gain access to stakeholders as they are often very busy people. See the process goal Coordinate Activities for potential collaboration strategies.
  3. Collaborate with IT stakeholders. Disciplined agile EAs will spend the majority of their time, 80 to 90% of it typically, working as members of solution delivery teams. By doing this they bring their knowledge, vision, and skills to the team in a pragmatic, hands-on manner. On Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD) teams they will often take on the role of architecture owner (AO) . Enterprise architects will also work with other IT stakeholders, including operations engineers, support staff, the data management team and so on so as to understand their needs.
  4. Evolve architecture assets. The enterprise architecture team, or at least the portion of the team who is currently available, will meet on a regular basis to evolve the enterprise architecture assets based on their learnings. A common pattern we’ve seen it for the team to meet once a week for two hours where they discuss what they’ve learned that week from working on delivery teams and working with their various stakeholders. As the result of the meeting several of the enterprise architects may take on action items to update existing EA artifacts. These artifacts may include EA models, reference architectures, development guidelines, white papers, and so on. When a new major topic arises, such as the potential adoption of a new platform or a merger with another organization, the EA may choose to schedule agile modelling sessions to explore the topic.