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Architecture Principles

In an attempt to put some structure to my learnings around IT Architecture I decided to get certified as a TOGAF Enterprise Architect. One of the elements of the TOGAF Architectural Development Method (ADM) that the architect team should provide is an artefact reffered to as “Architectural Principles”, this artefact is a document listing the principles that the architecture team are bound by. They should act as a guide to the decision making process as the Enterprise Architecture is developed.

I used to call these “Aspects” and would document them on our internal development wiki, but upon reflection I think that these principles form an even more important role than I previously thought. They not only define the foundations for the decision making process that your development team will subscribe to, but they form the basis for the culture of the team.

Enterprise Architecture is often regarding as unsexy and can be viewed negatively due to the Ivory Tower connotations. So do sexy companies do Architecture? I have heard that Facebook have posters on their wall that say:

Move Fast & Break Things

The Facebook meme has massive connotations with regards to architecture, delivery process, testing and ultimately you the user, it is not suitable for every company, but according to the TOGAF definition of a principle it definitely qualifies as a principle.

A fundamental statement of belief which guides the future direction of the architecture and supports the decision-making process.

A good TOGAF principle is more than a short statement of belief but should also have a name so that it can be identified, a rationale that highlights the business benefits and implications that highlight the impact of carrying out the principle in terms of resources, costs and activities for both the business and IT.

To make sure that your principles dont become shelf-ware and actually become a part of your companies ethos they need to be marketed, both internally and externally. They need to be reviewed by your team members, discussed and updated. Your Architectural Principles are an asset to your organisation and should be leveraged accordingly.

So here are my Architectural Principles, they are the basis for for how I run my personal projects and how I like to do things when I have no boundaries. They are a work in progress, so please provide your feedback.

Let me know what you think.

Published in Architecture


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