The following blog post opens series of articles devoted to my personal experiences, reflections and conclusions gathered during introducing into practice the material covered in the IASA CITA-Foundations course. Recently I completed the CITA-F course (tutored by an outstanding instructor Brian Loomis). Furthermore, I have managed to pass the CITA-F exam (which was mentioned as relatively easy, but in practice was really challenging). Consequently, I earned my full CITA-F certification. The CITA-F learning process was completed and the subsequent time is now for introducing that knowledge into practice.

The practical application of CITA-F knowledge in real-life architectural engagements may be quite challenging. The IASA courses and IASA pillars were formulated by the seasoned, very experienced architects, so theoretically it must be feasible. I started to plan putting CITA-F knowledge into practice by peaceful revision of course material and all related handouts. Also at the beginning – while reading the introduction to the IT Architecture Body of Knowledge (ITABOK) – I spotted this same, very important concept. The IASA ITABOK aims at making IT architects repeatedly successful. But what does ‘being repeatedly successful’ actually involve?

To be successful, by definition, the architect must identify which areas he/she can succeed in and which areas require significant improvement. Being ‘repeatedly successful’ involves the disciplined application of successful approaches to similar tasks and challenges over and over again. I realize that I am using terms so often (shockingly) ignored by many IT professionals and developers such as architectural methods, methodologies and techniques. Yet we know that the successful architect applies these techniques on a daily basis: architectural techniques, methods and methodologies which were created from learnings on projects. Personally I work on business intelligence solutions and am surprised at how often I participate in projects delivering the same kind of BI solution under radically different methodologies. I am tired of re-inventing the wheel over and over again. Having to use different approaches and engagement models for fundamentally the same project outcome and technologies means that the architect and team are spending time learning the methodology and are distracts them from the solution being built. It could go a lot faster if architect and the team have agreement to common practice. Moreover, they can improve the common practice over time while acquiring new experiences. Recently, I have started to standardize the architecture approach applied in my projects by eliminating everything what does not contribute to or does not bring any value to solutions I design.

The foundation course mentions various architectural techniques, methods, and methodologies. I currently apply some of these in real-life projects whereas others are completely new to me. For instance, the course briefly discusses the methods for evaluating, analysis and designing IT architecture such as Perspective-based Analysis Method (PBAM), Architecture Trade-off Analysis Method (ATAM), Quality Attribute Workshops or Attribute-Driven Design (ADD). The challenge I face in the coming year or two is how to become ‘repeatedly successful’ in applying these various techniques, methods and methodologies. The challenge is both daunting and exciting at the same time. For sure, it will force me to be honest with myself regarding the way in which I act as an architect. Furthermore, it will prompt me to identify gaps between the way I work and IASA best practices and hopefully it will motivate me to tailor the IASA best practices to the concrete context of the projects I participate in.

In the following post I outlined my views on how architect may be repeatedly successful. But what are yours? Please leave sensible comments under the post.

About the Author

Marcin Wizgid – Solution Architect and Project manager at Lingaro.
Marcin is an IT Architect specializing in the field of Business Intelligence, Data Warehousing and Enterprise Information Management. He dispenses with over 10 years of consulting experience gathered architecting enterprise-wide BI/DW systems on international projects in Germany, UK, Switzerland and Poland for top global companies. At the moment he holds several BI and IT Architecture related certifications: TOGAF 9 Foundation, CITA-F, CBIP and CDMP.  More about me you can find on my LinkedIn profile.