Architectural Thinking defines three scopes of architecture: (i) enterprise, (ii) top-level capability and (iii) solution.
Approximately 80% of architectural work is carried out during implementation at the solution level. A team creates architectural maps that are specific for the solution collaboratively, but connected well with the maps on the higher (capability/enterprise) levels. An ‘Architecture Owner – Solution Level’ is responsible for the conceptual integrity of the solution, which means that the micro-architectures of each team member fit together.
In order to ensure that solutions that support the same top-level business capability fit together, single minded architectural work at capability level is required. An ‘Architectural Owner/Capability Level’ creates the capability-wide architectural maps by aggregating and consolidating the work carried out at team level.
The remaining maybe 1% of architectural work is carried out at enterprise level. An ‘Architectural Owner/Enterprise Level’ creates the enterprise-wide architectural maps by aggregating and consolidating the work carried out at the lower levels.
The architectural maps at solution level are connected to the enterprise-wide maps via unique references (e.g. solution requirements must refer to exactly one business capability). This allows permanent feedback cycles between solution architecture and capability/enterprise architecture.
The business vision is an important input for the design of the enterprise-wide architectural maps. On the other hand, architectural work at enterprise-level typically leads to questions that must be addressed in the vision statement and is the perfect feedback mechanism to challenge the vision.
The enterprise-wide architectural maps are an important input for the scoping of solutions. These permanent feedback-cycles ensure that findings at solution levels that are relevant at enterprise-level are taken to the next level. Thus, the architecture owner at capability level uses the findings of the solution level as an input for the target architecture of his/her capability.
Architectural work is permanently carried out at the detailed solution level and at the capability and enterprise level side by side. Many solution teams create architecture within their scope simultaneously. Whenever they find issues relevant at the capability level, they take them to this higher level, where the architectural owner has to integrate them into the target architectural maps for his capability.