• Introduction

    This playbook describes an approach to running an IT architecture practice in larger organizations. I called this approach "Grounded Architecture," highlighting the need for any IT architecture function to stay well-connected to all levels of an organization and led by data.
  • Context: Fast Moving Global Organizations

    The grounded architecture approach has developed in the context of global, loosely coupled organizations that are diverse, with non-linear growth dynamics, and under transformation pressures. The work I present here reflects my experiences as a Chief or Principal Architect at AVIV Group, eBay Classifieds, and Adevinta.
  • Goals

    I identified the following needs that an architecture function should support: Executing At Scale, Increasing the Quality of Decision-Making with Data, Maximizing Organizational Alignment & Learning, Higher Adaptivity.
  • Structure

  • Grounded Architecture: An Overview

    I introduce three elements of Grounded Architecture: The Data Pillar, The People Pillar, The Architecture Activities Platform.
  • Data Pillar

    The architecture data pillar serves as a medium to create a complete, up-to-date picture of critical elements of technology landscapes of big organizations. The platform provides an architecture-centric view on data about our technology landscape based on source code analyses, public cloud billing reports, vibrancy reports, or incident tickets.
  • People Pillar

    We should not take our architectural talent for granted. Architects are bridging local business, product, organizational, and technology issues. Architects are difficult to hire talent as they need in-depth technical knowledge and domain-specific and organizational knowledge. Therefore, we need to make sure to support, organize, and leverage architecture talent.
  • Architecture Activities Platform

    The Architecture Activities Platform is the place where, by leveraging data and people pillars, we performed activities that help an organization to reach it goals. Here are some examples: supporting teams in their daily work; tracking tech debt, defining tech debt reduction programs; performing technical due diligence; standardization of processes and documentation; defining cloud, data, and platform strategies.
  • Value of Grounded Architecture

    When Grounded Architecture is in place, it can have a significant positive impact on the functioning of an organization: Executing At Scale, Increasing the Quality of Decision-Making with Data, Maximizing Organizational Alignment & Learning, Higher Adaptivity.
  • Reflections

  • Reflections

    I have identified the following a set of considerations and guiding principles that can help put the ideas of Grounded Architecture into practice and get things done: Developing Architects as Superglue, Being in the Eye of the Storm, Embracing Diversity, Distribute & Align Decisions, Having Flexible Governance, Applying Economic Modeling, Curisity, Doubt, Vision, Scepticism: Architect’s Personal Compass, and Culture Map: Architects’ Culture Mindfield Compass.
  • Architects as Superglue

    Architects in IT organizations should develop as “superglue,” people who hold architecture, technical details, business needs, and people together across a large organization or complex projects.
  • Architects' Behavioral Traits

    Netflix's overview of their valued behaviors is a good inspiration for coaching and developing architects. Borrowing from Netflix's original values and rearranging the order I see as more relevant for architects, the following behavioral traits are crucial for architects are: communication, judgment, impact, inclusion, selflessness, courage, integrity, curiosity, innovation, and passion.
  • The Culture Map: Architects' Culture Mindfield Compass

    In multinational organizations, architects will need to work with many different cultures. I have found the work of Erin Meyer, The Culture Map, to be a very helpful tool for architects to work harmoniously with people from a broad array of different cultures and backgrounds.
  • Six Simple Rules

    Six Simple Rules emphasis that in today’s complicated business environment, you need to setup organisational structures based on cooperation. To deal with complexity, organizations should depend on the judgment of their people and on these people cooperating to utilize the organization's capabilities to cope with complex problems. This view is well aligned with the ideas of Grounded Architecture.
  • In the Eye of the Storm: Aligning Business, Product, Technology and Organizational Strategies

    To ensure that organizations maximally benefit from Grounded Architecture, I want architecture always to address one of the most challenging problems our organization faces: a tension between technology, product, organization, and business functions.
  • Flexible Governance

    I promote a technology governance model as a well-balanced hybrid of three different styles of governing: mandates and bans, taxes, and leading by context.
  • Economic Modeling

    I sketch two answers to the question of the economic value of technology investments and architecture: the return on investment metaphor, and the financial options metaphor.
  • Curisity, Doubt, Vision, Scepticism: Architect's Personal Compass

    Architecture work can be being driven by four main motivators: Curiosity, where we follow our strong interests and desires to learn new things; Doubt, where we want to obtain deeper and more certain understanding; Belief and vision, where we set or follow vision and ideals; and Skepticism, where we question the possibility of reaching some goals.
  • Rising The Bar: Architects' Career Paths

    Architects' career paths ideally stem from a strong engineering background. Hiring architects requires constantly raising the bar to ensure a strong and diverse team structure.
  • Summary

  • Summary

    This playbook generalize my lessons learned while running an architecture function in global, fast-moving organizations, based on my experience as a Chief Architect at AVIV Group, eBay Classifieds, and Adevinta.
  • To Probe Further

  • Bookshelf

    Overview of the background to probe further. External resources inspiring my work.
  • Tools

    Tools I've built and use in daily architectural work.
  • Favorite Quotes

    My favorite quotes about architecture.