Investigative Architecture – Read the Tea Leaves of Your Enterprise

A foundational skill for an architect is the ability to rapidly assess and document “as is” and proposed solution architectures. The challenge lies in the typical state of enterprise knowledge regarding the systems – a myriad of internal and external information sources at all levels of quality and completeness. Rapidly converting this sea of information into usable knowledge requires a repeatable, structured approach for gathering information from internal stakeholders and documents, as well as performing focused research for publicly-available product and industry information. This is the Investigative Architecture approach.

On the surface the approach is simple, and is as follows:

Investigative Architecture Process

The process glues together all the critical aspects of a mature architecture process:

  • Formal set of deliverables
  • Guidance on using these deliverables – in an agile manner – as tools to achieve consensus among your stakeholders (not just as ex post facto cleanup documentation)
  • Standards-based diagram notation

Of course – Investigative Architecture is most powerful and successful when practiced by experienced architects. Review our public case studies on the process, or contact us if you’re lacking that experience but want to gain it!

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Ben Sommer

was a Principal Consultant with Systems Flow, Inc.

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