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Some suitable EA project types…

Recently I decided to tackle the different types of EA projects depending upon how much Frequency of delivery vs degree of change the proposed projects entail. Remember that I always thought that EA projects are complementary with all Project Management, Agile or not.

If you remember those guys at Architecture Centre with their combination of the TOGAF ADM and SCRUM process, you got this.

So, playing with such a matrix, we can imagine the 4 types of projects EA could help with.

Frequency of DeliveryMany changes get to be deployed as minimal viable product etc. to increase value, add-ons, more functionality and fixes for instance in SW development Those projects are sometimes one offs, could be unique and do not often benefit greatly from the EA processes.
Degree of ChangeWhen changes are numerous, one needs Strong governance and EA can use its reuse ability to make those changes happen fast, well, and cheaper too.The necessary changes in such projects can be quite large and have huge impact. They cannot be thought of as Agile or transition based EA candidates.
Examples of projects and EA candidates as function of delivery frequency and degree of change

High frequency of delivery and a low degree of change:

One example of a project with a high frequency of delivery and a low degree of change could be a software maintenance project. In this scenario, the project involves regularly addressing bug fixes, security updates, and minor enhancements for an existing software application. The core functionality and structure of the application remain relatively stable, but there is a need for frequent releases to address issues and maintain its performance.

In such a project, the team follows an Agile development approach, such as Scrum, with short development iterations or sprints that typically last a few weeks. During each sprint, the team focuses on identifying and resolving bugs, implementing minor improvements, and ensuring the application remains up-to-date with the latest security patches.

Since the project primarily involves incremental changes and fixes rather than significant overhauls or feature additions, the degree of change is low. The core functionality and overall architecture remain largely unchanged throughout the project’s lifecycle. However, the frequency of delivery is high because the team consistently releases new versions or patches to address issues and provide updates to users.

By maintaining a high delivery frequency, the project team can quickly respond to user feedback, ensure the application’s stability, and keep up with evolving security requirements. This approach allows for regular improvements without disrupting the core functionality or requiring extensive changes to the existing software.

Those project could be good EA candidates as they benefit from the strengths of EA like reuse, abstract thinking and modularity of building block concept as well as strong incremental delivery governance.

Low frequency of delivery and a low degree of change:

An example of a project with a low frequency of delivery and a low degree of change could be the construction of a standard residential building. In this scenario, the project involves constructing a standard design residential structure, such as an apartment complex or a housing development, where the architectural plans and specifications remain consistent throughout the project.

In such a project, the degree of change is low because the core design and specifications of the residential building are predetermined and do not undergo significant modifications during the construction process. The project team follows a traditional project management approach with a fixed scope, schedule, and budget. The construction process focuses on executing the planned activities according to the established design and specifications.

Additionally, the frequency of delivery is low because the project typically follows a phased approach, with each phase representing a significant milestone or stage of the construction process. The delivery of each phase can take weeks or months, depending on the size and complexity of the project. For example, the project may include phases such as site preparation, foundation construction, structural framing, interior finishing, and exterior landscaping.

While there may be minor adjustments or modifications during the construction process, such as addressing unforeseen site conditions or making minor alterations to the interior finishes, the overall degree of change remains low. The project primarily focuses on executing the predetermined plans and specifications to ensure the completion of a standard residential building.

The low frequency of delivery and low degree of change in this example reflect the nature of construction projects that involve following predefined designs and specifications with limited flexibility for modifications or alterations.

Because of such specifics requirements, EA may not be leveraged in a way that could bring major advantages vs a more conventional PM methodology.

Low frequency of delivery and a high degree of change:

One example of a project with a low frequency of delivery and a high degree of change could be the development of a large-scale infrastructure project, such as building a new airport or constructing a major highway.

In such projects, the degree of change is high due to various factors. The initial plans and designs may undergo significant revisions as new information and requirements emerge during the project lifecycle. These changes could be driven by factors such as environmental considerations, stakeholder feedback, regulatory requirements, or technological advancements.

However, the frequency of delivery is low because these projects typically span several years or even decades, depending on their scale and complexity. The delivery of each phase or milestone (transition) can take a substantial amount of time due to the extensive planning, design, procurement, and construction activities involved.

For instance, in the case of building a new airport, the project may include multiple stages, such as site selection, environmental impact assessments, detailed design, obtaining permits and approvals, infrastructure construction (runways, terminals, etc.), and installation of various systems and amenities. Each of these stages requires meticulous planning, coordination with stakeholders, and adherence to regulatory standards, resulting in a low frequency of delivery.

Throughout the project, there may be a need for significant changes to the original plans and designs. For example, new technologies may emerge that require updates to the airport’s infrastructure or security measures. Additionally, evolving aviation regulations or changes in passenger traffic projections may necessitate adjustments to the terminal layouts or runway configurations. These changes contribute to the high degree of change in the project.

In summary, large-scale infrastructure projects often involve extensive planning, coordination, and numerous stakeholders, resulting in a low frequency of delivery. Simultaneously, the high degree of change stems from evolving requirements, emerging technologies, and the need to adapt to external factors, making such projects complex and dynamic endeavours.

Reuse and flexibility when dealing with many complex changes are benefits of EA project management and delivery.

High frequency of delivery and a high degree of change:

An example of a project with a high frequency of delivery and a high degree of change could be the development of a software product that follows an Agile methodology, such as Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) practices.

In this scenario, the project team adopts an Agile approach, breaking down the development process into small, incremental iterations called sprints. The team continuously delivers new features, enhancements, and bug fixes to the software product within short time frames, often measured in days or weeks.

The high degree of change in this project arises from the dynamic nature of software development. As the project progresses, new requirements may emerge, user feedback may drive modifications, and market conditions may necessitate adjustments. The team embraces change and iteratively adapts the product to meet evolving needs, leveraging close collaboration with stakeholders and frequent feedback loops.

The high frequency of delivery in this example is achieved through the implementation of CI/CD practices. Developers frequently integrate their code changes into a shared code repository, triggering automated tests and validation processes. Upon successful completion, the code is automatically deployed to production or staging environments, making new features and updates available to end-users at a rapid pace.

By combining high frequency of delivery and high degree of change, this approach enables continuous improvement and rapid response to user needs. It allows for the development team to deliver value early and often, gather feedback, and make necessary adjustments quickly. This iterative and feedback-driven process contributes to the development of a software product that is highly adaptable, responsive, and aligned with the evolving demands of its users and the market.

Those typical projects are very strong candidates for EA capability as the 4 contexts of EA scope combined with EA other strength (see above) make those projects more manageable (better, faster and cheaper).

If such advanced content interests you, please check out our hands-on TOGAF and EA Candidate Workshop courses.