Sunday, May 6, 2012

EA Heuristic #2: Guess, Validate, Iterate: Time-bound architectural efforts

The spiral.  Architectural efforts should use this shape as the guide, doing quick iterations that each bring the effort closer to the end goal, but never getting held back from progress by attempts for perfection.
photo credit: the pale side of insomnia

(this article is part of the series "12 Heuristics for Enterprise Architecting")

It is very difficult to document various aspects of an organization to the lowest level of detail or even to document the high level views correctly. To begin with, people have different views of the organization so the one correct viewpoint might not exist. As such, it is important to recognize that EA artifacts are living documents and they will never be 100% accurate. 

Consequently, time-bound architectural efforts to ensure consistent progress. Guess and validate later when there is missing information. Allow for iterations to gradually refine EA artifacts.

In our EA exercise, we planned a survey early in the exercise to solicit information on stakeholder importance. The organization rejected the survey, so we created the stakeholder importance chart based on our assessment. During subsequent presentations, the organization’s executives provided inputs that helped us refine the chart. Reflecting on the incident, it would have caused us unnecessary time and grief if we did not move on but instead wait on getting that chart right first.

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