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Learning Archimate

I've started to evaluate the potential of using the Archimate modelling language for our architecture practice.  As architecture is primarily about communicating ideas, I didn't want to just start using this in my team and leaving everyone else mystified by the strange diagrams we started to produce.  Also, I wanted to judge how best to use the language.  So we arranged training for people from different teams and with different roles, partly to share the knowledge and partly to evaluate which aspects of the language (if any) would suit each teams.

Image result for archimate bolton
Archimate can represent many aspects of a system, starting with the motivations, drivers and stakeholders; moving to map business services and processes; then the applications that provide those services, and finally the infrastructure on which they run. You rarely display all aspects at once; instead there are a host of views that present particular aspects of the system.  The diagram above is taken from a JISC workshop in 2012 and is a motivation view which shows how drivers, goals and principles influence the design of a business process for open days.

Because the language can tell stories that cross all these boudaries, Archimate diagrams may impact may people, including project managers, business analysts, developers, support staff, sysadmins, service owners, and in theory business owners (although in practice I'd expect to use Powerpoint for most business partners).  So for our training session, we brought together one person from each of these roles.  Some could immediately see how the language might be useful to their work.  Others, at the more technical layer, were less convinced, but at least they will be able to understand the diagrams that other people produce and to explain them to others in their team.

Archimate is widely used in the EA world and supported by most major EA tools.  (Architects reading this will probably know more about it than me). We will start by using Archi, the open source tool, to gain experience before choosing a potentially expensive commercial offering.  I plan to start by recasting some of the diagrams we have drawn for ongoing projects, comparing the results in Archimate with the originals, and then looking to see how we can take advantage of the new models to describe more aspects of those systems.  This may take a while; I'll post an update here when I have something to report.


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