Digital Garden of Paul

Architecture Governance

Defining reference architecture and architecture principles is just a step in the process. The future state and principles need to be constantly evaluated, reviewed and adopted by the members of the organisation. A governance process should be present to take care of these things. A definition is provided by Weill & Ross:

"Specifying the decision rights and accountability framework to encourage desirable behaviour in the use of IT."

Weill, P. & Ross, J. W., 2004, IT Governance: How Top Performers Manage IT Decision Rights for Superior Results", Harvard Business School Press, Boston.

Architecture governance process is the set of activities an organisation executes to ensure decisions are made and accountability is enforced. This bubble dives into key elements of the governance process and lists various examples and possibilities of governance.

Architecture governance process

An effective enterprise architecture governance proces consists out of three components:

  • Architecture review process
  • Standards management process
  • Roadmap management process

The architecture review process establishes periodic reviews of solutions. Throughout the delivery lifecycle it reviews, guides and coaches the designed solutions. The focus is tactical; ensuring conformance to strategy and standards. Review is not to judge, but to educate and seek consensus.

Examples of governance methods

Architecture Review Board

The Architecture Review Board main purpose is to ensure that new and existing solutions and changes to existing systems are consistent in supporting the strategic and financial goals. Mike Walker describes an Architecture Review Board as:

An Architecture Review Board (ARB) is responsible for validating, recommending, and approving solutions supporting the business that meet a defined criteria, executed through a set of processes to manage outcomes, exceptions and all decisions that will be in turn cataloged to support future decision making. Realised through the ARB, is the alignment to the strategic goals of the company. Adherence to the company’s principles, policies, standards, and the defined industry proven practices are followed ensures this alignment.

Review boards often have a negative connotation. Boards are said to prevent technological advancements, being old-school or plain stubborn. However, this has nothing to do with the tasks and purpose of an architecture board. For organisations it is important to consciously decide what the purpose if of an ARB and what attitude the people in the board have. If an architecture review board is not predictable you have a problem on your hand.

Virtual architecture team

A virtual architecture team is a group of people with architectural knowledge and experience. Rather than having a full-time oversight role, they routinely gather to look at architecture strategy and tactical advice. They can be used to review, coach and challenge solution architects made by teams.

Source: Architecture Review Boards – Mike The Architect The Essential EA Toolkit Part 3 - An Architecture Governance Process | CIO

Architecture Governance