In this blog we are going to be talking about the enterprise architecture role in SAFe. 

Now this role is a really important role that sits at the top of the Scaled Agile Framework big picture, that's at the portfolio tier.

And this role guides the enterprise on what architecture is going to be needed to support its vision.

It is one of the most impactful roles in terms of enabling an organization for agility.

Now, if you've got an organization, that's got a mishmash of illthought out systems and aging infrastructure, fragile code, kind of dubious development practices, then you can't just plaster an agile process on top of that.

It's really important to understand what this role is, and understand how we can do this effectively.

Another point that I just want to bring to your attention is that due to the size and scale and impact of this role, it may not be a single person, so it may be more of a function than an individual role, depending upon the size and scale of your organization.

So let's get started and have a look and see how this role plays an impact on agility.

Now, as I said, the architecture role is almost like the role that provides the foundation upon which we can actually start to build an agile organization. 

So it's really important that this is built up on, on the right foundation.

Let's have a look and see how this supports the overall organization. So the first thing is any organization, we've got this vision, it's a big, broad vision.

And what we want to be able to do is to have this vision and hopefully have an architecture in place that supports this vision which hopefully is fairly obvious to everybody.

So what we want is we want the architectural function to be able to respond to the business innovation that's actually occurring.

And so they would do this by providing a guidance on the kind of technology that they'd be using. 

Now, I've seen so many organizations where you've got 10 different tools doing pretty much the same thing with slight nuances and slight variations.

And each team chose the different tools, because it was their favourate and now before you know it, you'll have a look at it and you've got this proliferation of tools.

You've got all these support overheads, you've got inconsistency.

You've got inoperability, you've got problems with when you're trying to move individuals from one team to another, because they need to learn these new tools that do nearly the same thing.

So really at this level, what you want to be able to do is to provide some sort of guidance in terms of the technologies and the tooling that you want to use.

Now, the next thing you want to be providing is some kind of information and guidance on the infrastructure. Are we be talking about  on cloud or on premise offerings?

What is it need to support your customer requirements?

So for example, if you're Tesla and you are actually pushing software updates to two customer vehicles, you're going to have different infrastructure requirements, from a standard car manufacturer.

On the other hand, as data is such a big problem at the moment in terms of how we can handle such vast volumes of data.

Many organizations have a grown up with having disparate pools of data. You've got duplicate information. You've got contradictory data in there. 

How do you actually build upon a data pool that's already unreliable?

What are your data requirements and how frequently do you need this data to be able to make real time decisions?

This kind of information and this kind of guidance is really important to the overall organization so the teams and the agile release trains and the value streams can all understand what are the data requirements now another thing is what is your pathway to.

So what I mean by that is when you are actually releasing not just software, but even an update, a solution, a product, a consumable solution, which may be software,

but also involves business process change as well. How   are you going to be releasing stuff like that?

Are you a Facebook where you're doing Canary releases and dark releases all the time, or are you traditional bank that requires, a huge segregation of duties and you've got multiple stages that you need your deployment to go through.

So what's your organization philosophy, is it a release fast and break things or is it we want you to get things right the first time.

These philosophical questions are gonna impact your approach and they are going to color the the infrastructure and the guidance that you will be giving at this time. 

And finally what are your nonfunctional requirements?

What's your availability like? 

So if you're the NHS for example, are you going to want to make sure that you are available.

As an example, if your PayPal, then you're going to want to make sure that the architecture and your design approach and your overall philosophy really takes into consideration that security importance.

If speed is important to you, for example, you're Google, then your entire architectural approach, everything around your infrastructure, your servers and everything is going to need to be geared towards that.

Or if, for example, scale is really important to you.

If you're a Facebook and you're continuously growing, then you're going to need to make sure that your overall guidance and your approach is oriented towards that thing. 

One approach, as I said is driven by the vision, so you're responding to what the requirements and the needs are from the business. 

And you are coming up with appropriate solutions and guidance to all of the teams and the trains and the value streams on how to do that?

In many organizations, at least the ones that I've worked in, they're more responsive.

And they don't drive the innovation side of things as well.

So what I want to talk about in the next blog is how can we drive innovation as part of this role or function?

I hope you found that useful do sign up to SAFe in the real world at

Thanks for reading this blog. Bye.


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