Everyone’s Going to be an Architect: Design Principles for Architectural Thinking in Agile Organizations

Horlach, Bettina
Drechsler, Andreas
Schirmer, Ingrid
Drews, Paul
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Organizational agility is a prominent aim for companies to thrive in today’s volatile business environments. One common building block of agility are (semi-) autonomous teams for continuously fulfilling and surpassing customers’ needs. However, these teams still need to see the enterprise’s ‘big picture’ of strategic objectives, business processes, and IT landscape to prevent organizational inertia or technical debt. This requires architectural thinking to inform these ‘non’-architects’ decision-making. To aid companies towards achieving sustainable agility, we propose six design principles as underlying logic on how to realize architectural thinking in agile organizations. The results are based on insights from interviews with sixteen employees and consultants with expertise on architecture management and organizational agility across several industries. Our work closes a gap in the agility literature, which so far mainly focused on non-generalizable blueprints for agile setups without showing their underlying logics, or approaches and role set-ups for enterprise-level architecture management.
Agile and Lean: Organizations, Products and Development, architecture, design principles, organizational agility
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