Published 09. Jul. 2020
Enterprise Architecture, The Agile Way!
ValueBlue shares how agile Enterprise Architecture increases the flexibility and resilience of your organization.
Agile Architecture; what is it and why is it the new way to help your business grow?
In the early 1990s, people felt the need to break with the traditional “waterfall method”. They began a search for more practice-oriented ways to deliver software, which over the years led to Agile development.
Agile spread around the world and has had a huge impact on how organizations are structured and how they transform towards the future. The big challenge now is to stay in control over your organization’s transformation in this rapidly changing and flexible environment.
EA Goes Agile
The mapping out of the entire organization and recording, maintaining, using and improving information to support transformation usually takes a long time. But organizations need to be able to change faster and in shorter cycles in order to keep up with the speed of innovation nowadays.
So how can we keep Enterprise Architecture (EA) relevant and valuable in this fast changing world?
By combining Agile and Architecture.
This allows you to change in a more structured and secured way. It reduces risk, as well as increases the business impact you make by better aligning the projects with strategy. You work towards a centralized repository in which the current situation has been completely worked out. From there, you can start working in a structured way on the future desired state, which is based on decentralized investment, and not yet fully determined, so it can change along the way.
The future state is separated into fragmented bits, created throughout the organization, and is orchestrated by the architect into a whole in the central Enterprise Architecture Management Repository.
This means that the stakeholders can directly contribute to the current state architecture. It also means the architecture has to be fully integrated with Project (Portfolio) Management, Change Management, and with Business Process Management, Application (Portfolio) Management and Data Management, resulting in operational stakeholders taking responsibility for their changes. It is important that this can be done easily and quickly in everybody’s own language.
The Architect Becomes A Director
The Enterprise Architect now orchestrates teams of specialists responsible for the operation and monitors if projects meet the requirements from the set frameworks of conditions, principles and guidelines that fit the organization. He/she orchestrates the progress of projects in multiple phases or sprints.
The Enterprise Architect is now responsible for making sure all projects deliver products that contribute to the organization’s objectives while being in harmony with each other (aligned operation & strategy). Projects are delivered in the short term, while always keeping the long-term objective in mind.
And this requires close collaboration with the executive teams of the organization: In what direction is our organization heading? How do the changes in both our internal and external environment influence our strategy? How can we constantly adapt to these changes?
In an Agile Architecture driven organization, the architect presents decision-ready scenarios to the executive board, so that strategy can be adapted not on a yearly basis, but on a weekly or monthly basis, while heading towards the projected goals for that year.
With Agile Architecture, the focus is much more on a strategic level; managing the details is distributed to the people familiar with and responsible for those details; mostly in the operation. The architect is more a director and is closer to the teams that implement the projects.
The architect will work together more with these teams in order to keep track of the situation and the transformation and to make sure that nobody deviates too far from the set principles and guidelines, while constantly being open to improvements and adaptations.
In order to be able to integrate all those project architectures with your Enterprise Architecture, you need the right tooling.
BlueDolphin is a collaboration platform in which the various stakeholders can easily work on different projects, all in their own way and in their own language, while constantly contributing to the central repository.
BlueDolphin helps map out the current situation and displays the road to the future by providing an understanding of the current situation.
The power of BlueDolphin is that you can facilitate all those different roles on the same knowledge platform. The information is aligned within one central repository, and can be dynamically visualized in such a way that it’s understood by every stakeholder in the organization, allowing everyone to work from one and the same up-to-date ‘reality’. This saves a great deal of time and reduces the need for endless communication.
This way, you can use Agile Architecture to make your organization much more flexible and resilient at the same time.