Applied agile EAM
New forms of enterprise architecture management
The “Applied Agile EAM” workstream focused on innovation in the field of enterprise architecture management itself. The workstream answered the question as to how an enterprise architecture organization can structure itself and act in a manner that enables it to shape the rapid digital transformation that is under way at virtually all companies.
Architects are currently called upon to ensure that structures, stability, and standards and methods are maintained and, in the case of the latter, complied with as well. However, this job description must be expanded in order to better take into account the transformation companies are undergoing as they become more proactive, dynamic, creative, and innovative.
The expanded job description is to be based on the firm conviction that in a world marked by rapid change, insecurity, increasing complexity, and uncertainty, architecture can only temporarily create understanding and clarity (i.e. as various phases progress). This conviction then forms the basis for the development of agile processes that ensure companies remain capable of effective action in a volatile world. However, because the platforms that enterprise architecture creates can only remain stable temporarily, architecture itself needs to become faster and more agile and make use of the agile methods that are employed in IT development departments, for example.
“Enterprise architects will simply become members of teams,” Workstream Coordinator Marc Gorges from Robert Bosch GmbH explains. “They will work in the field, have frequent contact with customers, and quickly analyze the input they receive from periodic feedback rounds.” Enterprise architecture will not be a show-stopper, so to speak, but will instead become an active team component that brings opportunities to life, helps improve services and products, and thus ultimately leads to higher earnings at a company. “Companies are currently being transformed extremely rapidly, whereby enterprise architecture is actively helping to shape this transformation as it expands its objectives and its use of agile methods,” says Bernhard Lerch, who is also from Robert Bosch GmbH.
Enterprise architects will simply become members of teams. They will work in the field, have frequent contact with customers, and quickly analyze the input they receive from periodic feedback rounds.
Agile enterprise architecture management
- is geared toward effectiveness and value creation. It is solution-oriented, views enabling and the definition of rules and guidelines as more important than strict governance, and focuses consistently on customer feedback.
- provides structures and methodologies for the digital transformation, pursues reasonable approaches that focus on the actual feasibility of solutions, and identifies risks and potential.
- firmly embeds enterprise architecture in a company’s DNA, actively participates in interdisciplinary teams, promotes personal responsibility and self-organization, and utilizes feedback in short cycles.
These principles are objectives that cannot be achieved with a single centralized enterprise architecture approach that is actively employed by only a few individuals. Instead, a broader approach is needed, one that involves architectural thinking, for example. Architectural thinking seeks to establish a collective understanding of “excellent products and services” and thus promotes the creation and operation of an architecture system that can achieve this goal. This approach assumes that knowledge and understanding of enterprise architecture are firmly embedded throughout a company, which means that enterprise architecture no longer needs to be prescribed and “forced upon” an organization but instead has already become a part of its DNA and therefore can be actively practiced at the company.
In order to ensure that enterprise architecture can respond to changes even more quickly, the workstream recommends the continued use of methods of architectural engineering, which follows the principles of the engineering sciences and develops minimum viable architectures that can be decided upon at the very last minute, so to speak.
Marc Gorges defines the tasks of an agile EAM system as follows: “It must provide security and stability for a company’s digital transformation, much in the same way an electronic stability program (ESP) in an automobile prevents your car from skidding and going off the road in a sharp curve.”
The workstream summarized its results in a white paper.