Master Interweaving

Business Transformations through a structured integration and alignment of Strategy with Operations.

Interweaving & Architectural Thinking - Use of methods

In this article I address the central question … 

"What makes architecting unique, valuable and ensures a place in an organisation?"

… from the point of use of methods and tools.

The first topic to address is the use of methods and tools.

An observation can be made that a considerable number of (Enterprise) Architecture ways of working are based on well-defined frameworks, methodologies, meta-models, viewpoints, principles, information models, and processes. In most cases these are predefined and it is recommended to follow the methods and techniques (or make an organisation specific configuration) to produce a set of well-, and predefined work products. This pattern of framework building and use is strong for traditional (enterprise) architectures and the following question becomes interesting.

"Is architecting founded on the use as specific set of methods, techniques, in a specific sequence, and on predefined guidance?" 

The short answer to this question is No. The longer answer follows in a brief format.

In addressing this question it can be of interest to investigate what is offered and used outside architecture circles, to encourage lateral thinking. I have collected a number of methods and techniques on the following page. 

Key Strategy and Managements models and tools

The number of well established methods, and tools is rather impressive. One book outlines 60+, another 80+ strategy and management methods, and tools. Based on a comparison of this summary with frameworks use of methods it seems reasonable to argue that traditional architects (re-)use methods, and tools that are already used by others in the organisation. This pose a problem for establishing and marketing a value proposition of architecting based on use of methods and tools since the uses are not unique and overlapping with other professions.

One way to escape the problems with uniqueness and overlapping work is to argue that architects have competences to perform the methods, tools, and techniques better than other. This argument positions architects against other professions, or disciplines, i.e. a rather confrontational and weak argument.

Maybe combinations provide a uniques offer?

"Is architecting founded on the use of a specific combination of methods, tools, and techniques?"

Traditional (enterprise) architecture seems in general to involve specialised methods to follow which are different from strategy and management. However to this date I have not seen any reasonable evidence that such specific traditional architecture methods or processes are superior over others. Another argument is that it can be observed that basic methods such as Plan-Do-Check-Adapt (PDCA), Observe-Orient-Decide-Act (OODA), LEAN, and Agile are used by both architects, and strategists, planners, management. 

Based on this common sense argumentation and comparison with existing practises, a value proposition based on specific and unique use of methods and tools is weak, and is likely not to be recognised by professions who already do what architects do.


Ways of Architecting - startup