IN THIS SECTION, YOU WILL: Understand the requirements I identified for an architecture function in complex organizations.
- I identified the following needs that an architecture function should support: Executing At Scale, Adaptivity, Improving the Quality of Decision-Making with Data, and Maximizing Organizational Alignment & Learning.
Considering the scale and complexity of the organizational context I operated in, it was apparent that conventional approaches of doing architecture that rely on manual processes need to be revised.
More specifically, I identified the following needs that an architecture function should support.
Goal 1: Executing At Scale
We needed to find a way to support all of the hundreds of teams, and thousands of projects, with significant complexity and diversity.
Goal 2: Adaptivity
Significant organic and inorganic changes are frequent and expected. The architecture function must adapt quickly to stay relevant in new contexts.
Goal 3: Increasing Quality of Decisions with Data
Intuition does not work at scale. We need tools and mechanisms to make a decision process more data-informed and less dependent on opinions. Furthermore, complex organizations’ cultural and organizational diversity makes opinion-driven decision-making processes highly ineffective.
Goal 4: Maximizing Organizational Alignment
Misalignment is a natural state in a global, diverse, fast-moving organization. The architecture function should be a cohesive factor in minimizing such misalignments. Otherwise, architecture may accelerate the creation of chaos.
Goal 5: Maximizing Organizational Learning
In complex organizations with lots of effort needed to maintain legacy systems, learning and following new technology developments takes work. Architecture should help organizations learn quickly, stay up-to-date with emerging technologies and industry trends, and recommend technology upgrades.
Questions to Consider
Knowing what goals architecture practice needs to support in your organization is crucial to define structures and measure your impact. Some of the plans may be universally applicable. Others may be unique to your context. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What is the scale of your architecture function? Does your scale require special measures to ensure your architecture practice efficient operations?
- What are the key decisions you need to make? Do you have the data to base your decisions?
- How aligned are units in your organizations? How much friction is there? How can architecture function help?
- How much is your organization learning? How is the learning supported?
- How stable is your organization? How likely is it that significant changes will occur in your organization?