Developing Architecture Principles

An Architecture Principle is a method for providing support during the decision making process. In addition they provide guidance on using and deploying assets and resources pertaining to the architecture work.

When developing an Architecture Principle the following should be taken into account:

  • What are the characteristics of the enterprise or organisation? i.e. Perform a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats)
  • What are the goals of the enterprise or organisation?
  • How is the enterprise or organisation structured?
  • What external constraints might come into play? i.e. Customer expectations, current or proposed legislation etc.
  • Technology and Systems across the enterprise or organisation which includes policies and procedures, documentation and Information Systems.
  • Trends (Technical, Economic, Political) which may be emerging within the enterprise or organisations industry which may impact the enterprise or organisation.

Principles should be linked to Standards, Policies, Guidelines and Procedures. The reason for linking principles is so that they are able to be supported inside the repository and can be shared with architects providing a full understanding pertaining to the structure.

Architecture Principles are usually established during the Preliminary Phase and can be thought of as a general set of guidelines and rules. Architecture Principles apply directly to the Architecture which is being developed and are usually a subset of the broader Enterprise Principles.

Architecture Principles should be created in such as way that each Principle is:

  • Robust
  • Understandable
  • Consistent
  • Stable
  • Complete

Why the need for Architecture Principles?

An Architecture Principle provides support and information in the way that an enterprise or organisation fulfills its objective. They should be specified as statements of intent which can be quantified and can be carried out by the architecture.