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How Architectural Thinking is related to existing disciplines and processes
Q: What is the difference between Architectural Thinking and the discipline of Enterprise Architecture Management?
A: Architectural Thinking is not a discipline carried out by a specific role. Instead, it is a connector between disciplines, targeted at a broad range of (mainly business-related) roles.
Q: What is the difference between the Architectural Thinking Framework® and existing Enterprise Architecture (EA) Frameworks?
A: The Architectural Thinking Framework® is a minimalist framework that can be easily integrated into Agile methodologies. It is based on the proven experience of many practitioners in various fields (such as Agile, EA, business architecture, business analysis, Agile, software architecture). Architectural Thinking provides lean but detailed, practical how-tos that are permanently improved by mechanisms of open participation. The Architectural Thinking Framework® is open, free of charge, and owned by a non-profit registered association that has no financial interests.
Q: Can I use Architectural Thinking with my existing Enterprise Architecture Tools?
A: Yes, if (i) the meta-model of your architecture tool can be customized (which is true for most of them), and (ii) the tool provides strong Web 2.0, wiki-like functionalities for collaborative architectural work.
Q: How are Architectural Thinking and Agile related?
A: Architectural Thinking is a mindset that complements the Agile mindset to enable the sustainability of solutions. Approaches for company-wide agility (such as SAFe, LeSS, Disciplined Agile Framework) and agile methodologies such as Kanban or SCRUM, define how people work together to create solutions. The Architectural Thinking Framework® defines what needs to be delivered as a standardized communication protocol between teams to ensure that these solutions fit together and into the big architectural picture of the enterprise. Thus, Architectural Thinking can be used as an extension of Agile that enables structured cooperation and communication via standard maps between teams based on clear target architectural models. However, Architectural Thinking is process agnostic, i.e. it works with any development methodology like other waterfall-like approaches.
Q: How are Architectural Thinking and Design Thinking related?
A: Design Thinking focuses on creating innovative solutions. The Architectural Thinking mindset is needed to make sure that these solutions are sustainable and fit together.
Q: How are Architectural Thinking and Business Vision related?
A: The business vision is a mandatory input for the Architectural Thinking Framework® as it defines how the vision must be formulated in order to derive the target architecture model. However, the Architectural Thinking Framework® does not deal with the process of vision creation.
Q: How are Architectural Thinking and Business Strategy related?
A: The connection between vision, strategy and the architectural model is mandatory in Architectural Thinking. For this reason, the Architectural Thinking Framework® defines the structure of the integration artifact ‘Strategic Field of Action’ that connects the business vision with the architecture model.
Q: How does Architectural Thinking fit into other enterprise processes?
A: Architectural Thinking is process agnostic, which means that the Architectural Thinking Framework® does not include processes. It simply defines deliverables (such as architectural models and maps) and how-tos that show how to create them. These deliverables can be integrated with existing enterprise processes via the concept of ‘Integration Artifacts’.
Q: Which roles are defined in the Architectural Thinking Framework®?
A: To ensure conceptual integrity between solutions, dedicated ‘Architecture Owner’ roles are defined for each level of architecture (Solution/Capability/Enterprise). However, due to the fact that most of the work is carried out by many people, Architectural Thinking invites existing or emerging roles such as business analysts, business process managers, business architects, enterprise architects, software architects, system architects or software developers to participate in the creation of consistent, linked architecture models.
Q: How are Architectural Thinking and Solution Development related?
A: The Architectural Thinking Framework® provides simple architectural maps that connect artifacts that are produced during solution development (e.g. User Stories, software and solution architecture models) with the enterprise-wide big picture. Thus it fosters constant feedback loops between solution development and enterprise architecture management.
Q: How are Architectural Thinking and Business Architecture/Business Analysis related?
A: Architectural Thinking is business orientated and heavily influenced by the work of the ‘Business Architecture Body of Knowledge® (BIZBOK®)’ of the Business Architecture Guild. Business Analysis practices as promoted in the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge® (BABOK®) of the International Institute for Business Architecture (IIBA) are of great help for creating the business-related artifacts (Value Streams, Business Capabilities, Business Objects, Applications)