Architectural Thinking with ArchiMate

Architectural Thinking Association (AT) ® is an interesting initiative in order to make the architecture easier for everybody (link). AT core model is relatively simple, it consists of few elements only as follows: Capability, Value Stream (Process), Business Object, Application and Technology Component. The AT core meta-model is illustrated in the diagram below (figure 1).

Figure 1: Architectural Thinking core meta-model.

These AT core elements can be visualized with any tool, such as drawing tools like MS Powerpoint or MS Visio.

Formal architecture modelling can be used for complementary practice for AT approach. Formal modelling with an appropriate modelling tool (such as BIZZdesign, Orbus iServer, Mavim, Sparx EA or open-source Archi) and a standard notation (such as ArchiMate, BPMN, UML) can be valuable for many architectural use cases. Utilizing a standard notation with a professional modelling tool can be beneficial in many organizations for systematic architecture management, where architecture descriptions are designed more detailed level, and shared & published for every stakeholders. In such organizations, a comprehensive architecture repository can be used for to enable coherent and cohesive overall architecture landscape, for every development target (e.g. a new service or product, a new digital strategy, whole business domain etc.).

ArchiMate -standard (link) can be used for creating diagrams according to AT approach. Here is couple of examples of the AT core meta-model, modelled with ArchiMate.

1) Architectural Thinking core meta-model with the ArchiMate “Process” -element

This version (figure 2) is using the ArchiMate Process -element to depict the value stream.

Figure 2: Architectural Thinking (core) with Process.

2) Architectural Thinking core meta-model with the ArchiMate “Value Stream” -element

This version (figure 3) is using the Value Stream -element, which is to be added into the next version of the ArchiMate -standard (1H/2019).

Figure 3: Architectural Thinking (core) with Value Stream.

This version (figure 4) is using the ArchiMate relationship types “serving” and “access” to indicate how these elements can be connected with each other. By using these few ArchiMate elements, it is possible to model architectural aspects of an organization. This simplified modelling approach of the “architectural thinking” aims to focus on simplicity rather than complexity..

Figure 4: Architectural Thinking core model.

This version of AT core meta-model with ArchiMate (figure 4) is included in Lean EA Framework (LEAF) reference implementation (link). Navigate to “Principles”, “Development Methods”, “Architectural Thinking approach”. The LEAF is supporting a “value chain based method” that is described in this article (link) and also here (link).