Making Agile Enterprise Architecture Pragmatic
Most people agree with Charles Edwards (of Agile EA) comment, that though software development and architecture has been making excellent progress over the past two decades, the same cannot be said of Enterprise Architecture. There are ongoing debates and discussions on topics like Is Enterprise Architecture dying? What is killing Enterprise Architecture? Is there any market for Enterprise Architecture?
The typical drawbacks of Enterprise Architecture (EA) are observed to be:
- It takes way too long and requires too much effort
- Not able to prove that significant value is being created
- Lack of Communication
In an attempt to solve the major drawbacks of Enterprise Architecture, other methodologies (at times referred to as third generation EA) have come up. Still there is no consensus and as practitioners we realize that the hybrid approach is what works best.
From this perspective, the following key points could be directly used by practitioners of EA as a step toward agility:
1. instead of trying to make a perfect architecture / model – which takes a lot of time and effort and hence quite detailed but not really more usable or correct (as with time the changes would have happened and the model may not reflect the current status), aim at a simple, usable and meaningful model that makes sense to both the Business and IT people and hence really effective (as people really would read and use them!).
2. Not rely on a specific modeling approach and but use a variety of tools to depict the information and adopt an “iterative and incremental” way to build it. The key is to use the “Right approach – with the right level of detail – for the right context”.
3. Look at the whole picture – using the various perspectives which are depicted in multiple artifacts.
AgileEA is a free open source EA Operational Process. It is a framework that is designed to either use as is, or to tailor and publish your own Enterprise Architecture Operational Process website. Right now, the site seems to be under maintenance – some time back it was in Beta and asking for suggestions. A whitepaper on Agile EA – Phases, Iterations & Discipline by Charles Edwards is available at http://www.agileea.com/Whitepapers/AEA_Phases_Iterations_Disciplines.pdf.