by Nick Rozanski

The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF) defines architecture governance as “the practice and orientation by which enterprise architectures and other architectures are managed and controlled at an enterprise-wide level.”  More simply, this means how you can evaluate, improve, and oversee your architectures to make sure they are fit for purpose and that your systems are built in the right way.


TOGAF goes on to identify six qualities which characterize successful architecture governance.

  • Discipline. Everyone involved has to be committed to following your governance processes and respecting the authority of your architectural decisions.
  • Transparency. Your processes, their outcomes and follow-up actions must be available for everyone to see and understand.
  • Independence. You must make your decisions and assign actions in a way that shows you are not unduly influenced by any one group, especially management.
  • Accountability. You must have clearly-identified people or groups who are responsible for carrying out governance tasks.
  • Responsibility. All participants must act in a professional manner and work for the best interests of the organization and to its stakeholders.
  • Fairness. Your decisions must be fair and unbiased, not influenced by your own personal preferences and prejudices.Setting up and running an effective architecture governance regime can be very challenging, however experienced you are and whatever your organization’s level of architectural maturity. You will often find little understanding among your stakeholders of what governance means and how it adds value. Too often it will just be seen as another layer of bureaucracy which needs to be avoided or subverted in whatever way possible.

    Your job is made easier if you are doing this as part of a wider technology and corporate governance framework. Unfortunately many organizations, particularly smaller ones, don’t have such enterprise-wide frameworks in place. In this case it will be down to you to take the first step in what could turn out to be a larger program of organizational change.

    Over the coming weeks and months I hope we will be able to help you find answers to the many questions you will ask about architectural governance in your organization.

  • Who are my authoritative and accountable stakeholders and how do I get their buy-in?
  • How do I get architectural governance embedded in our project lifecycle?
  • How do I create an architectural review method which is objective and comprehensive?
  • How do I ensure that architectural governance leads to better architectures and better systems?
  • Where do corporate and local principles, standards and policies fit into the picture?
  • How do I align all this with modern project management approaches such as agile and lean?
  • How do I monitor and assess the success of my approach?
    I look forward to many interesting discussions with you on this topic.References

TOGAF® 9.1Part VII: Architecture Capability Framework / Architecture Governance (


Nick Rozanski

Nick Rozanski CEng FBCS is is the functional architect for a front-office IT department in a major British bank. He has oversight of the systems landscape for the whole department and also provides architectural guidance and support for key systems and projects. He produces some of the department’s architecture descriptions himself, which requires him to create all types of views and address concerns in almost every perspective described in this book.

Nick has worked in IT since 1980 for several large and small systems integrators, including Logica, Capgemini, and Sybase. He has taken senior roles on a wide range of programs for clients in finance, retail, manufacturing, and government. His technology background includes enterprise application integration, package implementation, relational database, data replication, and object-oriented software development. He is also an experienced technical instructor and certified internal project auditor.

Nick was educated at the Universities of Cambridge and Manchester, United Kingdom.