Grounded Architecture
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Grounded Architecture

Redefining IT Architecture Practice in the Digital Enterprise

About the Book

This book shares my approach to running an IT architecture practice in larger organizations based on my experience as Chief Architect at AVIV Group, eBay Classifieds, and Adevinta.

I call my approach “Grounded Architecture” to highlight the need for any IT architecture function to stay well-connected to all levels of an organization and led by data. 

Grounded Architecture has two main parts:

  • Structure, elements you need to create in an organization to run Grounded Architecture practice and “ride” an architecture elevator, and
  • Reflections, a set of my considerations and guiding principles that can help put the ideas of Grounded Architecture into practice.

The Grounded Architecture structure consists of three elements:

The Data Pillar ensures that architects’ decisions are data-informed, based on an up-to-date and complete overview of the organization’s technology landscape.

The People Pillar represents a strong network of people doing architecture across the organization that is crucial to ensure that architecture function has any tangible impact.

Lastly, the Architecture Activities Platform defines a set of processes and agreements enabling architects to do everything architecture typically does, leveraging data and people pillars to create a data-informed, organization-wide impact.

As reflections, I provide key lessons I learned while developing ideas of Grounded Architecture in practice:

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    • Software Architecture
    • Digital Transformation
    • Enterprise Architecture
    • Business and IT Alignment
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About the Author

Željko Obrenović
Željko Obrenović

Željko Obrenović ( is a Chief Architect at AVIV Group. Before joining AVIV Group, he worked as a Principal Architect at eBay Classifieds, a CTO of Incision, a principal consultant at the Software Improvement Group (SIG) in Amsterdam, a consultant at Backbase, an assistant professor at the Technical University in Eindhoven, and a researcher at CWI.

Table of Contents

    • 1:Introduction
      • 1.1:What Will You Learn?
      • 1.2:Key Influences
      • 1.3:Why This Book?
      • 1.4:A Part of the Bigger Picture: A Trilogy in Four Parts
      • 1.5:A Bit of Personal History
      • 1.6:The Structure of the Book
      • 1.7:Stay Connected
      • 1.8:Acknowledgments
    • 2:Context: Fast-Moving Global Organizations
      • 2.1:Global Scale
      • 2.2:Multi-Dimensional Diversity
      • 2.3:Nonlinear Growth Dynamics
      • 2.4:Synergy and Transformation Pressures
      • 2.5:Decentralization and Loose Coupling
      • 2.6:Questions to Consider
    • 3:Goals
      • 3.1:Goals
      • 3.2:Questions to Consider
    Part I:Grounded Architecture
    • 4:Grounded Architecture: Introduction
    • 5:Data Foundation
      • 5.1:Requirements For A Data Foundation
      • 5.2:Examples of Data Foundation Sources and Tools
      • 5.3:Building Data Foundation
      • 5.4:Using Architecture Data Foundation
      • 5.5:Appendix: Examples of Insights From Source Code Analyses
      • 5.6:Questions to Consider
    • 6:People Foundation
      • 6.1:Background: Central vs. Federated Architecture Function
      • 6.2:The Hybrid Model
      • 6.3:Building People Foundation
      • 6.4:Questions to Consider
    • 7:Architecture Activities Platform
      • 7.1:Examples of Architecture Activities
      • 7.2:Operating Model
      • 7.3:Architecture Decision Policy
      • 7.4:Distributing Decisions, Autonomy, and Alignment
      • 7.5:Questions to Consider
    • 8:Value of Grounded Architecture Structure
      • 8.1:Executing at Scale
      • 8.2:Adaptivity
      • 8.3:Improving the Quality of Decision-Making with Data
      • 8.4:Maximizing Organizational Alignment
      • 8.5:Maximizing Organizational Learning
      • 8.6:Questions to Consider
    Part II:Being Architect
    • 9:Being Architect: Introduction
    • 10:Architects as Superglue
      • 10.1:Supergluing in Action: Reducing Tension among Business Functions, Product, Technology, Organization
      • 10.2:Superglue Abilities
      • 10.3:Questions to Consider
    • 11:Skills
      • 11.1:Hard Skills
      • 11.2:Soft Skills
      • 11.3:Product Development Skills
      • 11.4:Business Skills
      • 11.5:Questions to Consider
    • 12:Impact
      • 12.1:Pillars of Impact
      • 12.2:Questions to Consider
    • 13:Leadership
      • 13.1:David Marquet’s Work: The Leader-Leader Model
      • 13.2:Netflix’s Valued Behaviors: Leadership Behaviors
      • 13.3:Questions to Consider
    • 14:Architects’ Career Paths: Raising the Bar
      • 14.1:Typical Architect’s Career Paths
      • 14.2:Hiring Architects
      • 14.3:Questions to Consider
    Part III:Doing Architecture
    • 15:Doing Architecture: Introduction
    • 16:The Culture Map: Architects’ Culture Mindfield Compass
      • 16.1:Communicating
      • 16.2:Evaluating
      • 16.3:Persuading
      • 16.4:Leading
      • 16.5:Deciding
      • 16.6:Trusting
      • 16.7:Disagreeing
      • 16.8:Scheduling
      • 16.9:Rules
      • 16.10:Questions to Consider
    • 17:Managing Organizational Complexity: Six Simple Rules
      • 17.1:Background: Limitations of Hard and Soft Management Approaches
      • 17.2:Six Simple Rules Overview
      • 17.3:Rule 1: Understand What Your People Do
      • 17.4:Rule 2: Reinforce Integrators
      • 17.5:Rule 3: Increase the Total Quantity of Power
      • 17.6:Rule 4: Increase Reciprocity
      • 17.7:Rule 5: Extend the Shadow of the Future
      • 17.8:Rule 6: Reward Those Who Cooperate
      • 17.9:Questions to Consider
    • 18:Understanding Product Development
      • 18.1:The Build Trap
      • 18.2:The Discipline of Market Leader
      • 18.3:Questions to Consider
    • 19:Architecture Governance: Nudge, Taxation, Mandates
      • 19.1:Nudging
      • 19.2:Taxation (Economic Incentives)
      • 19.3:Mandates and Bans
      • 19.4:Questions to Consider
    • 20:Economic Modeling: ROI and Financial Options
      • 20.1:The Return-on-Investment Metaphor
      • 20.2:The Financial Options Metaphor
      • 20.3:Questions to Consider
    Part IV:Wrapping Up
    • 21:Summary
    • 22:Cheat Sheet
      • 22.1:Introductions
      • 22.2:Grounded Architecture: Introduction
      • 22.3:Being Architect: Introduction
      • 22.4:Doing Architecture: Introduction
    Part V:To Probe Further
    • 23:Bookshelf
      • 23.1:Introduction
      • 23.2:Career Development
      • 23.3:Hard Skills
      • 23.4:Soft Skills
      • 23.5:Organization and Processes
      • 23.6:Business, Product, Strategy
    • 24:Tools
    • 25:Favorite Quotes
      • 25.1:People, People, People
      • 25.2:Changing Role of Architecture
      • 25.3:Complexity
      • 25.4:Other
    Part VI:Appendix
    • 26:Appendix Overview
    • 27:ISO 25010 Standard
      • 27.1:Overview
      • 27.2:Maintainability
      • 27.3:Security
      • 27.4:Performance Efficiency
      • 27.5:Reliability
    • 28:Cloud Design Patterns
      • 28.1:Overview
      • 28.2:Performance and Scalability
      • 28.3:Resiliency
      • 28.4:Messaging
      • 28.5:Management and Monitoring
      • 28.6:Security
      • 28.7:Other Patterns
    • 29:High Performing Technology Organizations
      • 29.1:Overview
      • 29.2:Four Key Metrics
      • 29.3:Practices

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