Can Enterprise Architecture be Agile?
8 May 2009
Are the rapid Agile development approaches compatible with the longer term strategic planning approach of Enterprise Architecture?
Maybe ‘agile’ is just a very overloaded word and we should instead talk about Iterative and Incremental Enterprise Architecture?
One of the main concerns I have always had is that the concept of ‘Agile’ is closely associated with ‘Quick and Dirty’ in the minds of many clients who are happy to trade off quality for rapid development. The concept of Agile and of Enterprise Architecture do seem at first glance to be incompatible – you wouldn’t really want to develop a quick and dirty enterprise architecture especially where the impact is strategic, long term and very costly. It doesn’t matter if you have to refactor a solution a few times to get it right for the current set of user stories, but refactoring the whole organisation is less feasible.
I am fully behind the idea of an iterative and incremental approach to both developing an Enterprise Architecture (as described in TOGAF9 and FSAM) as well as for solution development (with RUP, FDD, Perspective, DSDM etc), but don’t want to encourage low quality outcomes that can result with pure agile approaches like XP.
I always found the original XP process to be rather anti-Analysis and anti-Architecture but I believe that both Analysis and Architecture are very necessary in the appropriate context and scale.
For developing a Solution I often used to advocate having two parallel processes that might be called Agile Analysis and Agile Development with the Agile Analysis process feeding requirements/user stories into the Agile Development process.
I’ve started this as a discussion on the LinkedIn group on Agile Enterprise Architecture.