Lean Architecture Principle #7: Architecture Initiated by Business Goals
This is the seventh post in a series of blog posts discussing Lean Architecture principles. Each post discusses one principle. Applying these principles results in an architecture (process) that is better connected to the business, better able to deal with change and more cohesive. The seventh principle we discuss is called "Architecture Initiated by Business Goals".
As a negative example: we've probably all seen situations where people start "investigating" the possibilities of a cool new technology without having a clue how it could contribute to achieving the business goals. Although this might be fun, interesting and good on the architects resume, it does not add value for the business and therefore no effort should be put into it.
The "business" is the most important stakeholder in any company and therefore also for the architecture role. The business defines vision and goals for the company and architecture must help to achieve the company vision and goals. It it crucial that architects understand the vision and goals and architects therefore will have to be in regular contact with the business. Make sure to actually talk with the business on a regular basis since it is hard to grasp the "real" essence of a vision from a document or slidepack. Understand what the business are aiming for and more importantly, "why" they are aiming for that. After understanding, architects - together with other stakeholders - can define the architecture vision, goals and short term actions. Capture this in a limited set a slides or few page document that can be discussed with and (very important) understood by the business. If you cannot explain to the business why you're making certain decisions, then there's more work to do.
Obviously, the Connection part of the 3 C's of architecture is directly addressed by this principle. Applying this principle will ensure that architects are focussing on what adds values for the business. "Buy in" by the business for your plans is easier achieved, because they recognize their own vision and goals in the architecture vision and goals. Applying this principles also helps to achieve Changeability because you will know what the most likely areas for change are and therefore you'll know where flexibility makes sense in the architecture.
This was the seventh in a series of blog posts on Lean Architecture principles, the next one will follow in about a week.