Lessons from Classical Architecture

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Alex Pavlak


The main lesson that results from looking at Enterprise Architecture (EA) through the lens of classical architecture is that EA development should be executed in two sequential stages: an architectural stage followed be an engineering stage. The architectural stage begins with a general need and synthesizes distant to-be alternatives, one of which is chosen by the “client.” This selected to-be architecture provides a stable specification for engineering development. The engineering stage begins with the chosen to-be architecture and produces an optimized to-be enterprise design along with a staged transition plan. The transition plan migrates between as-is and to-be enterprise design states (not architectures). A robust to-be architecture does not change during the EA life and requirements creep. Staging EA development in this manner enables early management buy-in and reduces risk by providing stable intermediate milestones. While the best architecture stage is a low cost effort, its success demands quality execution and is best executed with special expert teams. In addition to the main lesson, private sector experience suggests that EA’s greatest value to the enterprise will come from Information Technology (IT) enabling the elimination of unnecessary processes. High value process-driven architecture should be initiated by the organization’s strategic planning function.

Journal of Enterprise Architecture

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