A few weeks ago I started reading a book called “Model-Based System Architecture” by T. Weilkiens, J. Lamm, S. Roth and M. Walker. The book is geared toward the system architect, but much of what is discussed is also relevant to the enterprise architect. The scope of the book is how to use model-based systems architecture to achieve the goals of developing a systems architecture that is already established or planned. The book uses as its core modeling language SysML to build the architecture descriptions, however, the concepts are independent of SysML and could be performed with other modeling languages.
The book goes into the benefits of systems architecture on system development such as shorter development and production cycles. How to develop the base architecture, elicit use cases and develop requirements are covered as well as the model structure. The book also spends a good amount of time on examining how model-based systems architecture can be used to ensure that things like stakeholder analysis and trade studies can be performed and than presented to people who may not be versed in the nuances of the model. And while using models as the basis for the architecture makes sense, this book also goes into the “soft” skills that a good architect needs to possess. Besides the obvious skill of communication, which everyone mentions, the authors talk about the ability to abstract stakeholder concerns, use cases, requirements and desired capabilities and created abstract views in the models that link these things together into a larger picture (or series of views).
The book also spends time looking at some concrete process steps needed in developing a systems architecture. Some of these processes where ideas the authors put out, but others such as the FAS (Functional Architectures for Systems) method which comes from Europe. The FAS method looks at identifying functional elements of the system and decomposing them into a hierarchical functional structure. In other words, developing a hierarchical structure of the functions the system or enterprise should be performing. This is done so that the stakeholder concerns, use cases and requirements can be mapped to those functions which would allow the architect to extract the components necessary to design the system. Other systems architectural processes was their look at how Agile methods could be used in systems architecture development.
The book goes into architectural frameworks and well as a look at case studies from the authors experiences. I found that while the book has a very technical outlook in how to use model-based systems architecture, it does not disregard the need to include the soft skills as well as the overall organizational view of how a system fits into the structure of an organization.
T. Weilkiens, J. Lamm, S. Roth and M. Walker. 2015. Model-Based System Architecture. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.