Agility and Architecture: Can they coexist?

Read an interesting article in the IEEE Software magazine with the above title:

Link to the article

The author discuss how there can be a balance between agile processes and enterprise architecture and recommend guidelines on how and where to apply them.

What has your experience been? Do you see them coexist? Would love to hear your experiences.

Comments:

I think agile can't exist without good enterprise architecture guidelines. If you want to deliver working software in short iterations, you have very little time to think about the architecture of your solution and how it fits in with the rest of the enterprise. Good architecture guidelines help you focus on the details of your solution and how to implement the solution.

Posted by Andrej on March 04, 2010 at 02:27 AM EST #

I partly agree with Andrej in that you do lose time. However the the two have to coexist in order to provide the best outcome. Ultimately this issue is like a bell curve, where you'll find that there is a max/critical point and from that you began to lose again. On the integrity side one must ask can we be satisfied with the max?

Posted by Si on March 15, 2010 at 01:37 AM EDT #

Si: I'm with you. I see EA as an enabler for agile development. You can do agile without EA and deliver to the business faster. However, more than likely create hurdles for future projects/changes. In this scenario you end up with a ball of bandaids that keeps growing. Kind of like navigating in a forest with or without a compass :) Andrej: I thing one runs into situations where they have to make this choice between EA and agile, when the same people are working on both. I see them as two separate but parallel efforts. One group of architects (EAs) looking at the big picture (the forest) and another that focuses on agile solution development while adhering to the standards/guidelines produced by the EA team. EA in itself, follows the agile methodology as it is developed in an iterative manner. You do level 0 then level 1 then level 2 and so on.. Defining you architecture better and tighter with each iteration. Thanks for your comments.

Posted by Pratul Sharma on March 15, 2010 at 12:33 PM EDT #

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