Architecture Frameworks – too complex and multi-dimensional?

Following the recent The Open Group’s “Business Transformation in Finance, Government & Healthcare” conference in London, I was pleased to see this comment about Lean Enterprise Architecture:

“We were told that Standard Frameworks are too complex and multidimensional – people were interested in how we use them to provide simple working guidelines to the architecture team.

There were a few themes that frequently popped up, one of them being the measurement of Enterprise Architecture (EA) complexity. There seemed to be a lot of talk about Lean Enterprise Architecture as a solution to complexity issues.”

I’ve been providing simple working guidelines on how to produce and use two-dimensional architecture frameworks since 1996! So it is encouraging to see that this topic has now been broached by The Open Group.

And another theme that I frequently advise clients about is EA complexity!

So here are links to some recent work on simple and practical architecture frameworks and how EA handles complexity:

  • What Is Complexity? An EA Perspective: Many explanations and descriptions of complexity refer to, and even depend on, the notion of a system or systems. As EA also uses the notion of systems extensively, referring to systems makes it much easier to relate complexity to an EA perspective.
  • Techniques for Managing Complexity: In this Advisor, I present some techniques that manage the complexity inherent in contemporary architectures
  • Mastering Complexity to Drive EA Productivity: Architectures and associated change programs are increasing in complexity. As such, today’s enterprise architects and EA teams need to know the best ways to handle or deal with complexity. How can we apply the latest ideas in complexity theory and systems thinking to the management and evolution of architectures, and how does this help with the planning and running of programs and projects? This Executive Report examines complexity from an EA perspective, explains why architecture has become more complex, and shows how EA as a discipline already has a wealth of techniques that address complexity. Getting to grips with complexity is not easy, but the alternative is to become less effective in our work since each increase in complexity reduces EA productivity
  • A Practical Guide to the Most Useful Architectural Frameworks: Part I – The Architecture Content Framework: In an earlier Executive Update series we  explained why architects need to reframe frameworks so that they  become a constant guide, used to direct and manage everything they do. In this new five-part Update series, we  describe the five most useful architecture frameworks. These are the top five frameworks used over and over in pretty much every  EA project.
  • A Practical Guide to the Most Useful Architectural Frameworks: Part II – The Architecture Development Process Framework: In Part I of this five-part Executive Update series, we looked at the framework that keeps track  of all work products, deliverables, and reference material used  by the EA team: the Architecture Content Framework. This Update builds on that foundation by explaining how we can use frameworks to manage the architecture development process.