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The four dimensions of scope

There are four main dimensions that are typically used to limit and define the scope of an Architecture.

  1. Breadth
  2. Depth
  3. Time Period
  4. Architecture Domains


Determine the extent of the enterprise or organisation and how much of that extent should the architecture effort focus on. It is important to understand that many organisations are large and are comprised of separate business units. These separate business units can be thought of as enterprises in their own right. Modern businesses further blur this distinction as many businesses embrace a combination of traditional business enterprise as well as partners, customers and suppliers.


Depth describes to what level of detail an architect should go to when creating an architecture. The challenge here is deciding on how much architecture is enough and when to stop and the delineation between other related activities or systems.

Time Period

Specifies the time period for the initial phase – Architectural Vision and is the specified amount of time realistic based on resources available.

Architecture Domains

Typically when creating an Architecture Description the description should contain information pertaining to all four domains:

  1. Business
  2. Data
  3. Application
  4. Technology

Sometimes, due to constraints such as time and resources there often not enough resources available to create an all inclusive architecture description that covers all four domains.

Typically when creating the scope of an Architecture the scope is expressed in:

  • Breadth
  • Depth
  • Time

Once the scope of the organisation is understood then a suitable combination of architectural domains is selected based on the problem being addressed.