This chapter provides guidelines for defining and using Architecture Contracts.
Architecture Contracts are the joint agreements between development partners and sponsors on the deliverables, quality, and fitness-for-purpose of an architecture. Successful implementation of these agreements will be delivered through effective architecture governance (see 50. Architecture Governance). By implementing a governed approach to the management of contracts, the following will be ensured:
- A system of continuous monitoring to check integrity, changes, decision-making, and audit of all architecture-related activities within the organization
- Adherence to the principles, standards, and requirements of the existing or developing architectures
- Identification of risks in all aspects of the development and implementation of the architecture(s) covering the internal development against accepted standards, policies, technologies, and products as well as the operational aspects of the architectures such that the organization can continue its business within a resilient environment
- A set of processes and practices that ensure accountability, responsibility, and discipline with regard to the development and usage of all architectural artifacts
- A formal understanding of the governance organization responsible for the contract, their level of authority, and scope of the architecture under the governance of this body
The traditional Architecture Contract is an agreement between the sponsor and the architecture function or IS department. However, increasingly more services are being provided by systems integrators, applications providers, and service providers, co-ordinated through the architecture function or IS department. There is therefore a need for an Architecture Contract to establish joint agreements between all parties involved in the architecture development and delivery.
Architecture Contracts may occur at various stages of the Architecture Development Method (ADM); for example:
- The Statement of Architecture Work created in Phase A of Part II: Architecture Development Method (ADM) is effectively an Architecture Contract between the architecting organization and the sponsor of the enterprise architecture (or the IT governance function).
- The development of one or more architecture domains (business, data, application, technology), and in some cases the oversight of the overall enterprise architecture, may be contracted out to systems integrators, applications providers, and/or service providers. Each of these arrangements will normally be governed by an Architecture Contract that defines the deliverables, quality, and fitness-for-purpose of the developed architecture, and the processes by which the partners in the architecture development will work together.
- At the beginning of Phase G (Implementation Governance), between the architecture function and the function responsible for implementing the enterprise architecture defined in the preceding ADM phases. Typically, this will be either the in-house systems development function, or a major contractor to whom the work is outsourced.
- What is being “implemented” in Phase G of the ADM is the overall enterprise architecture. This will typically include the technology infrastructure (from Phase D), and also those enterprise applications and data management capabilities that have been defined in the Application Architecture and Data Architecture (from Phase C), either because they are enterprise-wide in scope, or because they are strategic in business terms, and therefore of enterprise-wide importance and visibility. However, it will typically not include non-strategic business applications, which business units will subsequently deploy on top of the technology infrastructure that is implemented as part of the enterprise architecture.
- In larger-scale implementations, there may well be one Architecture Contract per implementation team in a program of implementation projects.
- When the enterprise architecture has been implemented (at the end of Phase G), an Architecture Contract will normally be drawn up between the architecting function (or the IT governance function, subsuming the architecting function) and the business users who will subsequently be building and deploying application systems in the architected environment.
It is important to bear in mind in all these cases that the ultimate goal is not just an enterprise architecture, but a dynamic enterprise architecture; i.e., one that allows for flexible evolution in response to changing technology and business drivers, without unnecessary constraints. The Architecture Contract is crucial to enabling a dynamic enterprise architecture and is key to governing the implementation.
Typical contents of these three kinds of Architecture Contract are explained below.
49.2.1 Statement of Architecture Work
The Statement of Architecture Work is created as a deliverable of Phase A, and is effectively an Architecture Contract between the architecting organization and the sponsor of the enterprise architecture (or the IT governance function, on behalf of the enterprise).
The typical contents of a Statement of Architecture Work are as defined in Part IV, 36.2.20 Statement of Architecture Work.
49.2.2 Contract between Architecture Design and Development Partners
This is a signed statement of intent on designing and developing the enterprise architecture, or significant parts of it, from partner organizations, including systems integrators, applications providers, and service providers.
Increasingly the development of one or more architecture domains (business, data, application, technology) may be contracted out, with the enterprise’s architecture function providing oversight of the overall enterprise architecture, and co-ordination and control of the overall effort. In some cases even this oversight role may be contracted out, although most enterprises prefer to retain that core responsibility in-house.
Whatever the specifics of the contracting-out arrangements, the arrangements themselves will normally be governed by an Architecture Contract that defines the deliverables, quality, and fitness-for-purpose of the developed architecture, and the processes by which the partners in the architecture development will work together.
Typical contents of an Architecture Design and Development Contract are:
- Introduction and background
- The nature of the agreement
- Scope of the architecture
- Architecture and strategic principles and requirements
- Conformance requirements
- Architecture development and management process and roles
- Target architecture measures
- Defined phases of deliverables
- Prioritized joint workplan
- Time window(s)
- Architecture delivery and business metrics
The template for this contract will normally be defined as part of the Preliminary Phase of the ADM, if not existing already, and the specific contract will be defined at the appropriate stage of the ADM, depending on the particular work that is being contracted out.
49.2.3 Contract between Architecting Function and Business Users
This is a signed statement of intent to conform with the enterprise architecture, issued by enterprise business users. When the enterprise architecture has been implemented (at the end of Phase F), an Architecture Contract will normally be drawn up between the architecting function (or the IT governance function, subsuming the architecting function) and the business users who will subsequently be building and deploying application systems in the architected environment.
Typical contents of a Business Users’ Architecture Contract are:
- Introduction and background
- The nature of the agreement
- Strategic requirements
- Architecture deliverables that meet the business requirements
- Conformance requirements
- Architecture adopters
- Time window
- Architecture business metrics
- Service architecture (includes Service Level Agreement (SLA))
This contract is also used to manage changes to the enterprise architecture in Phase H.
49.3 Relationship to Architecture Governance
The Architecture Contract document produced in Phase G of the ADM figures prominently in the area of architecture governance, as explained in Part VII, 50. Architecture Governance.
In the context of architecture governance, the Architecture Contract is often used as a means of driving architecture change.
In order to ensure that the Architecture Contract is effective and efficient, the following aspects of the governance framework may need to be introduced into Phase G:
- Simple processes
- People-centered authority
- Strong communication
- Timely responses and an effective escalation process
- Supporting organizational structures
- Status tracking of architecture implementation
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