Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Architectural Constituencies

Who is the audience for Architecture?

The answer is, lots of different people.

First, there are Enterprise Architects. These folks are responsible for looking at architectural issues across multiple different business units and/or multiple different functional groups. Enterprise Architects, themselves, can be divided into four (4) sets of individuals. There are people focused on business processes. Others are responsible for data. A third group focuses on applications, particularly issues pertaining to partitioning and integration. And, finally, there are persons whose job it is to organize an enterprise's technology portfolio, especially for communicating IT standards.

A second group of people interested in Architecture are Software Architects. These individuals work as members of project teams. Their focus is narrowly channeled. They are responsible for either building or buying a specific solution to a business problem.

A third set of Architects sits somewhere in between projects and the enterprise. These people might be referred to as domain (or program) experts. For example, they might be concerned with customers which means their expertise is required across numerous projects touching multiple business units. Or, they might be responsible for a specific area of technical expertise, such as security. Their goal is to define uniform ways of solving general problems.

A completely different group of individuals who need to be served by Architecture are the business people. These folks, who are generally not very technical, need a better way to think about IT. I've often described this as a cognitive roadmap.

Since Architecture attempts to span so many different diverse audiences, it shouldn't be surprising that's it's been so extremely difficult to develop an easy-to-understand working vocabulary for describing such terms as:
  • Quality Attribute
  • Business Force
  • Architecture Concern
  • Architectural Style
  • Design Type
  • Architectural Description
  • Architecture Assessment
  • Architecture Framework
  • Architecture Governace
IASA, the International Association of Software Architects, with 1600 members in 23 active chapters, is attempting to create a Taxonomy to define these terms. I've been working as a member of a working group tasked with tackling these challenging issues. I promise to keep you apprised of the team's progress in future postings to the ITscout Blog.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dont let him fool you folks, Jeff is DRIVING the progress on the Taxonomy group! So Jeff just what IS an Architectural Style?

Hope we can get you to the Austin Chapter soon!

12:00 AM  

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