Several recent articles by Jason Bloomberg on Forbes have put the spotlight on the division between enterprise architects and the Agile movement, and have highlighted the necessity of bringing these two sides together. Towards the end of his article titled Scaling Agile Software Development for Digital Transformation, Jason urges digital transformation professionals to choose their tools with care. The following article is for those enterprise architects that wish to go Agile and become Agile Enterprise Architects (Agile EA) and practice a new type of architecture: Agile architecture.
One of the biggest causes of aggravation between enterprise architects and software development teams is caused by the legacy of other, older software development models where the design is always up front vs the design as you go of Agile development. This typical idea of enterprise architecture would provide the enterprise architect a command and control position, a incompatible role within an Agile development team, and therefore a role that must alter radically to become part of an Agile team (will come back to this at later).
For Agile developers reading this, let’s be clear: you can’t scale Agile effectively without an enterprise architect; your business needs one. Many of you might be wondering why not consider the various frameworks for scaling Agile such as the Scaled Agile Framework, designed for scaling Agile with developers working in SAFe® teams? this provides your business with architecture, right? Wrong!
The Scaled Agile Framework provides a framework that enterprise architects can use to scale Agile in your organization. It is for this reason we advocate having an ownership position for the enterprise architect.
What exactly does an Agile EA do and how does it differ from the traditional enterprise architecture?
In the context of an enterprise software development project, the purpose of the enterprise architect is to determine how to best utilize the resources allocated to the project to meet the current and future objectives of that project and draw up the blueprint for the project teams to follow.
The whole point of carrying out architectural modeling is to:
- Provide credibility for the initial plan.
- Mitigate the potential risk of individual team members working to different visions of the same project
- Make sure the system works and ensure that performance requirements are met
The ongoing task is ensuring that everyone involved is working to the same project vision. To use music as an analogy, consider an orchestra playing to the same piece of music as opposed to an orchestra playing from memory (not errors just different versions with no harmony).
To become an Agile Enterprise Architect you must leave the idea of “fixed” or “finalized”. You must open up your UML modelling for scrutiny, signing up for inclusion into a process of constant feedback from your Agile development colleagues. Just as with Agile development, strategy changes with changing requirements. Your Agile modelling must change to meet the new order of things. The end goal of Agile architecture is, as ex-Netflix Adrian Cockcroft suggests, to promote emergent behaviour within and between development teams, and alter management style to accommodate and manage the productive chaos without restricting the the creative process. From a business perspective, the Agile Enterprise Architect’s role is to assist with business transformation.
Agile Architecture should be integrated throughout the Application Development Lifecycle
The right tool for enterprise architects is Intland Software’s codeBeamer ALM. With our Enterprise Architect plugin, we provide a bidirectional and completely traceable development process by integrating your EA modelling tool and codeBeamer ALM. Intland’s EA plugin lets you import diagrams and work items into codeBeamer. Syncing also works the other way around: requirements, tests, and other work items may be exported from your ALM solution & imported to Enterprise Architect.
codeBeamer ALM, an Enterprise Architect-friendly ALM Software Solution
For a better understanding of our Enterprise Architect plugin and the benefits of UML-ALM integration, check out our webinar recording below, as well as the integration demonstration provided by Architect Group Inc.