I have been working as acting chief architect for an organization in the last few months. Long before I started, my team of architects had big problems in defining what architecture is.
– What shall we produce and in what format? Help us!
Only create architecture that makes sense
My first message was that we have to focus 110% on what really makes sense.
– The architecture has to make sense, I repeated in all discussions. To me that’s the simple truth.
Well, it turned out not to be that simple. It was hard to define what makes sense without a clear context. So, I had to continue my pedagogical journey. What is the context for architecture that makes sense?
Architecture only makes sense in the context of change
The next move was to discuss change processes.
– What change processes do we have, I asked.
After some discussions about processes we came to the conclusion that the following processes are present as objects for architectural focus, where we can make positive sense:
- System Maintenance Assignments
- Pre-study Assignments
- Supplier hearings
- Strategy process
- System Maintenance Planning
The next discussion was on how to get integrated in these processes and with what architecture we can make sense.
To my surprise the discussion didn’t get easier. After some thinking sessions while driving my car I landed in next pedagogical movement.
Architecture only makes sense if supporting quality fulfillment in change processes
So, what quality parameters are stated or should be expected from the results of the change processes? That’s the question that will straight forward lead us to the answers of what architecture to produce, what architecture makes sense.
Figure: The foundation for any architecture artifact is the quality expected from change processes
The work to define the quality parameters have now started.
During the discussions about quality I stumbled into a world of different views of what quality perspectives architecture shall aim towards. The expert consultant in System Maintenance Management and IT Governance suddenly in a meeting about quality as driver for architecture asked; Do you mean that the architecture shall make the process more efficient, not only a better design? My answer was YES. I was glad that he responded that way, because I then realize that the view of architecture purpose isn’t as obvious as I thought.
Quality related to a change process can on a high level be summarized as: Delivery of expected solution on time and on budget. To create the right architecture is all about that.
So simply; The answer is Q
The James Bond character Q, the Quartermaster, would have been a perfect member in my architecture team. Not as a pure inventer, but as a pro-active thinker preparing his agents to deliver quality, even in situations they couldn’t imagine themselves
I will change the spelling of architecture from now on:
In coming blog posts I will elaborate further how we create the relevant arQiteQture procedures related to the identified change processes.