Last november I attended the very interesting LAC conference (the Dutch conference on enterprise architecture). The theme this year was “The Open Architect”.
Looking back at the conference and the different talks, one can clearly see that agile principles have been infiltrating the enterprise architecture world. Here are a few examples…
Responding to change over following a plan
Willy Appel (from Gartner) introduced a new way of working in enterprise architecture for the future. He called it ‘outcome oriented architecture’. Basically this method is not about aligning the customer (read “the business”) with IT but about IT focussing on achieving results for the business…
Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
At the CGI stand (formerly known as Logica), I saw a model for integrating agile principles in enterprise architecture processes. During one of the presentations the term “just enough” even popped up! It was explained how responsibility should be spread to the lowest level possible. An architect in fact, should only provide the vision and steer the organization in the right direction.
In the CIO panel, this was even one of the suggestions: architects should speak both the language of the business and the language of IT and bridge the gap between them. Processes and tools are just too prominent in the daily work of an architect.
Basically, attach business value to the decisions you take and convince the business of your choices.
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Day two started with a keynote from the Distinguished Chief Architect of the ING bank. He told the audience about how he had stimulated his team of architects by having them back their ideas with actually working software.
Batch processing instead of real-time processing? Try it out in a proof-of-concept so we can have a discussion based on facts instead of gut feeling…
This approach means working software is immediately available and can be presented to the customer for evaluation.
When people think of Agile, they naturally think of software development. But the fact is the Agile Manifesto only gives some new principles to work by. These principles apply not only to software development but can also be applied to enterprise architecture.
This edition of the LAC conference made it clear that enterprise architects are becoming more and more aware of this.