Posted: 8 May, 2020
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Just a quick post here as I had this question a few times this week alone from a couple clients. I'm attaching a short PDF with some pictures here, showing some of the varied ways that an EA typically works from the business value and customer experience discussions with project sponsors, and creates design artifacts and guidance for the implementation teams. Though it is definitely an art form, we do have specific views that we do often and an EA typically selects from a wide palette of possibilities to be able to achieve the aims of creating a discussion, formulating a decision, or providing working guidance to an implementer.
Technology architects in general create these artifacts (a common term for a document, picture, or model regardless of format) similarly to a building architect might. The image of London, above, is a metaphor for the level of the artifact; enterprise architects often work across many programs and possibly business domains - the whole city, if you will, at an abstract level to describe the context of a development effort. A solution architect, or even an EA in that role, will look at maybe a single building in this broader environment, using similar techniques but at a finer granularity. Historically we have called this high level design and detailed design, but I'm not as much a fan of that as it implies a hierarchy between the participants in the development effort. Nowadays, we do recognize that each view on a system interacts with the next more broad view and the next more detailed view: each informs the others as we proceed through evolutionary or anti-fragile architecture. Another way of saying this would be that the high level view does not "govern" or constraint the detailed view as we had in non-agile developments, artifacts often play off each other and design occurs a little bit here and a little bit there with the completion of design being reserved until late in the project.
As I always say, architects work in pictures, so here you go - a few pictures I have drawn over the years and a hint at what we do here at Princeton Digital.