The managers of the enterprise architecture

The topic which enterprise architects are working on is architecture management. This is a standing locution. Do we really know the meaning of the two words? Let's look behind the scenes and define properly what we are speaking about! The article uses common definitions of architecture and management then interprets the management functionalities from architects point of view.

Architecture is a well phrase for example in TOGAF (chapter 3.8):

  1. A formal description of a system, or a detailed plan of the system at component level, to guide its implementation (source: ISO/IEC 42010:2007).
  2. The structure of components, their inter-relationships, and the principles and guidelines governing their design and evolution over time.

Management is the same. For the current topic I would refer that definition, which describes the four main function of management too: Management functions.

When we say "Architecture management" we would not forget that all the 4 management function hsa to be taking into consideration. Either a single one is missing, it is not "management" anymore! For better understanding, here is the short description of the 4 main functions of management and their analogy for the architecture management.


Classic management definition   Architecture management definition
Planning covers defining and setting of objectives and determination of actions for achieving these objectives.
Planning has different horizons: strategic, tactical and operational planning.

Strategic horizon
Set up the direction, the targets, what make the modell working in a continuously changing environment.

Operative horizon
Leading the solution design activities in the course of project are relevant for future architecture state.

Defining organisation, allocating resources including human, financial and some other if needed. The target of this step is to ensure that the objectives defined in "Plan" state will be accomplished. Organise

Strategic horizon
Building of roles, processes, control points, communication channels, information sources.

Operative horizon
In co-operation with project managers building up the right project expert teams to ensure proper deliveries.

Leading is the art of influencing others in the organisation to reach the corporate targets. This is the field of motivation, performance follow-up, personal target definition and handling the individual differences. Lead

Strategic horizon
Operation of processes of architecture change: SDLC, architecture decision process.

Operative horizon
As being part of target architecture related projects, leading the expert teams, analysing and selecting solution options. Maintenance runs of architecture knowledge base.

Controlling cares that performance does not deviate from targets. This stage contains performance target definitions, comparing actual performance against taking, and taking corrective actions if needed.


Strategic horizon
Building and operation of the environment around the points above, e.g. measurement points, policies, KPIs, etc.

Operative horizon
Ensurance of having proper solution designs in all project in the organisation. The best way of control is the lead architect role in projects.


Opposing to the classical management definitions where the different horizons are used to be defined individually only in the Planning stage, architecture management must contain strategic and operative actions in all the stages. The significance of this approach to be conscious keeping the balance between a dark-room and constant fabric approach.

The final word is: if anything is missing from your architecture management practice out of the stage above, it is rather not to call it "management" anymore. The other side of the coin is that you have to start accomplishing the missing functions to be really a manager of your architecture!

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