Tools for adopting the btabok in everyday practice.
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BTABoK Scenarios

This article is based on scenarios to help individuals and organizations use the BTABoK in growing their practice and maturity. The first priority is to identify ‘scenarios’ which are common moments or needs where the BTABoK might be helpful in delivering better architecture. The article will first give an overview of the scenarios and some basic guiding principles and then will expand on those in individual articles or even learning shots and training.

Most of the BTABoK uses third person voice to ensure that it has some academic rigor and can be understood that it is not a personal opinion. However, in these scenarios, we will be giving direct advice and thus we will switch to first and/or second person.

Here is the starting list of scenarios, feel free to add additional scenarios as you find them either in github issues or by adding a new scenaro to this list:

  • I am an aspiring architect - how do I grow?

  • I am a solution architect, I have been asked to produce an architecture for a new product?

  • I am an application architect, what should I do during product development?

  • I am a solution architect, I have been asked to help with a package selection, or buy vs build.

  • I am looking after an architecture practice, what should I do?

  • I am have been asked to perform an architecture review, can the BTABoK help me with this?

  • I am a business architect, how can the BTABoK help me approach my job?

  • How does the BTABoK apply to enterprise architecture?

  • I have a set of stakeholders that are complicated and I want to work with them better.

  • I am a consultant working with a client to try to make recommendations on the best approach to their work, how can I use the BTABoK?

  • How do I deal with all these canvases and how are they linked?

  • How do I update a legacy system?

Adopting the Competency Model

The competency model of the BTABoK is at the core of the practice. It is the most robust and well-documented competency model for architects on the market. In this article we are going to evaluate methods for adoption and their benefits to your organization.

Designing with the BTABoK - 6 part Series

Design methodologies for architecture are relatively difficult to find, especially those that relate to both technical and business outcomes. One of the goals of the BTABoK was to create a ‘method to the madness’ for current architects and architecturally significant decisions. Keep in mind, in this article, we are referring to the design of the combination of business and technology areas, so the design of a purely manual business process is not part of our consideration (see Iasa’s definition of architecture). We are going to discuss the following model for design relationships and a structured approach using the BTABoK structured canvas approach. Here is my current thinking on the order they will come in:

  1. Dissecting Design – And Introduction

  2. Options, Options, Options – So Many Choices

  3. Decision Making – Why Agile Architecture is so Hard

  4. Views and BEYOND – Thinking, Facilitating, and Communicating

  5. I Like Patterns – Patterns, Reference Models, and Conformance

  6. Assessments, Tests, and Chasing Perfection – How Governance and Architecture are Different

  7. How Much Architecture and When

The Aspiring Architect

As an aspiring architect, whether you are more of a developer or fill another role, your number 1 goal should be to understand where you fall in the competency model. This you can do through the free assessment at Rotation, technical depth vs breadth, and specialization.

(write this article)

Legacy Systems Modernization

The demands on business to meet customer needs are a key factor in maintaining competitiveness. A common challenge faced by business is the management, replacement, and decommissioning of legacy systems. What happens when your key IT systems just aren’t keeping up with the demands of the business? Perhaps the system no longer fits with the business process and is too expensive to change, or the maintenance costs are seriously cutting into your profit margin. Perhaps it is a change in the direction or strategy of the business which means that the IT landscape needs to change.

In this series of short articles, we will look at how we can use the BTABoK to help manage legacy systems and legacy transformations. The articles cover the following topics:

  • Legacy and Technical Debt

  • Identification and Strategy

  • Planning the transformation

  • Culture and User Acceptance

  • Migration and Test

  • Decommissioning

  • Preventing Legacy

The New Product/Project Idea

Much of architecture centers around innovation and ways of handling new ideas. This article series explores using the BTABoK to guide innovation, new projects, business ideas, and experimentation. In addition, this article looks at the nature of new products and projects. When do these ideas occur? How are they submitted? How can architects be more involved?

Federated Practices


My Business Stakeholder Wants to Buy a Product

Nothing is more frustrating than being handed a newly purchased product by a stakeholder and being told to make it work. This is a situation many architecture teams find themselves in every day. This series will show you how to use the BTABoK to begin changing this into a positive scenario with few or no surprises.

Architects During Development (Software Solution Architecture)

This article explores the relationship to architects, emergent design, and tasks associated with architecture in an extended team model. It looks at architecture competencies and their application to non-architect roles and how to utilize the BTABoK in those environments as well as the tradeoffs necessary to make that work. In addition, we will discuss a full architect position and how to execute successfully in multiple fast-paced teams.

It Is All About Value

This series explores the most important topic of architecture; the value of the practice. It describes how architects grow value, measure themselves and interact with the organization.

  • An Overview of Value in Architecture

  • Soft Value vs Hard Numbers (Apples and Spaceships)

  • Quick Time to Value and Minimum Valuable Products

  • How Do We Value Architects

  • OKRs, KPIs, Measurements and Other Hairy Topics

  • The Rapid Value Achievement Method

Building a Practice

In building a practice we will review the methods recommended by the BTABoK to start and run an effective architecture practice, from small to extremely large. We will discuss and refine numerous BTABoK articles which relate to managing the architects, competencies, communities of practice, and development of a set of maturity objectives.

The Architecture ‘Review’

Architecture review boards, governance, architecture analysis methods, quality assurance, and mentoring. Reviews and evaluations of architecture decisions come in many sizes and colors. This article expands on the notion of reviews and governance boards and puts them in perspective of lifecycles, safety and liability, and deliverables needed to ensure they are handled with the appropriate amount of care.

  • Running effective Governance Review Boards

  • What is the Architecture Mentoring Board

BTABoK for Business Architects

This article series will describe using the BTABoK for business architects and architectures. The goal of the series is to describe not only the tools but the relationship between business architects and the architecture practice. I

  • The BTABoK and Business Architects

  • Business Architect Competencies and Roles

  • Artifacts, Deliverables, and Utilization

  • Business to Solution in Value Streams

  • Maturity Methods for Architecture Practices

BTABoK for Enterprise Architects

There is more debate about enterprise architecture than any other activity in the profession. And all that rhetoric and debate serves to slow down our adoption and value accrual. Here is how to get this properly aligned with BTABoK principles and guidelines and make the practice significantly more valuable.

Software Architecture with the BTABoK

The BTABoK was designed as a foundation for an architect and an architecture practice, as such it deals with levels of scope and activity that go beyond the day-to-day work of a software architect. However the tools of the BTABoK make the practice of software architecture much simpler, by bringing together common events, moments, meetings, and activities into a suite of tools that aid in the design and delivery of software-intensive systems. This series will look into those activities in depth to show how to use it to take your work to the next level.

  • Designing Software Overview

  • Traceability in Software

  • UX, Services, and Storage

  • Integration

  • Agile and DevOps

  • Patterns, Styles and Quality Attributes

  • Business, Investment and Maintenance

  • Stakeholders and Users

Infrastructure and Cloud Architecture

Infrastructure architecture often sits behind the other architecture practices or is seen as an enabler to them. This confuses the overall lifecyle of the practice as a whole and can often cause infrastructure to function as an enabler instead of the business driver that it can be. This series of articles explores the relationship and tools in the BTABoK for making infrastructure a critical part of the innovation lifecycle.

  • Storage, Network, and Compute - Laying the Foundations of Innovation

  • Operations and the Stack

  • Working with Solutions and Business

  • Quality Attributes

Understanding Stakeholders

The BTABoK describes a set of tools to manage, lead and interact with stakeholders. This article shows off the Stakeholder Driven Approach which uses these tools to create a solid understanding of even the largest and most complex stakeholder communities.

Understanding Our Customer and Our Client

In this article, we will review the client and customer language prevalent in the market and propose a functional structure for using the BTABoK to derive value for both. This also applies to making consulting and products more successful within the enterprise and combining efforts of the architecture practice to get truly customer driven. A portion of the article deals with non-profits, governments, and other mission-based organizations.

Architecture-Led Consulting with the BTABoK

This article series describes how consulting organizations can use the BTABoK to significantly increase the effectiveness of accounts by using stable and effective techniques from the BTABoK. Also, it digs into the relationship of value flow inside the consulting and product company to better align client-trusted advisors with architecture teams and practices.

What’s With All the Canvases

This series of articles describes the Structured Canvas Approach and how to use it. It lays out basic artifact relationships to the scenarios in this document and describes other aspects like relationships to architecture tools, storage of models/canvases, and implementation patterns in lifecycles and deliverables.

  • An Overview of the Structured Canvas/Concept Approach

  • Understanding Sub-Groupings of Canvases

  • Core Canvases Maybe All You Need

  • From Canvas to Tools and Back (Why We Need Better Tools)

  • Usage in the Real World

Managed Mentoring and Career Path

This article series will focus on the career path of architects from basic skills to distinguished board certifications. It lays out the necessary elements of building an internal career path and how that will impact the organization.

  • A Mentoring Program How To

  • Career Path vs Internal Job Growth for Architects

  • How to Deal with Specializations

  • Hiring, Job Descriptions and HR