Key terms used in Accelerate

Some key terms used in Accelerate that may be less familiar to the sponsor and project manager that are explained below are:

  •   architecture owner
  •   architecture runway
  •   product owner
  •   project space.

Architecture owner

What is an architecture owner?

The architecture owner is:

  •   part of the project’s core team
  •   responsible for facilitating the development of the product’s architecture.

When is an architecture owner required?

Architecture owners are needed for complex or large solutions, when the development teams are unable to anticipate the complexities outside their immediate environment, or understand every aspect of the entire system.

Assigning  an architecture owner:

  •   supports the ability to respond to changes to the solution as more information is available
  •   reduces the production of redundant or conflicting features.

Architecture owner’s responsibilities

The Architecture Owner’s responsibilities are listed below.

Across project life:

  •   understanding the IT strategy & standards
  •   ensuring the solution is fit for purpose
  •   understanding and applying required information security controls to the solution
  •   developing an architecture runway supporting the product roadmap
  •   making scope vs quality trade-off decisions for the team
  •   carrying out agreed assurance activities
  •   supporting the sponsor to socialize and convey the project vision and intent to the team and primary  stakeholders, along with the product owner
  • communicating the emerging solution design with technical review boards
  •   contributing to the:

○     assurance plan and risk register

○    business operating model

○    product release roadmap

○    product product release board(s)

  • understanding and applying enterprise technical standards
  • assessing changes to the scope for assurance implications, and recording the decisions and their rationale in a project log

During development:

  •   organising milestone reviews
  •   participating in project planning, daily stand up meetings, reviews, retrospectives, sprint and release  planning
  •   providing input to the feature analysis and discussion during sprint planning
  •   considering the readiness of the IT services to accept the change, prior to approving the release for Live, along with the product owner
  •   reviewing test results prior to the approval of sprint deliverables with the product owner
  •   providing input to the product owner when they are determining whether to approve the release of sprint deliverables
  •   working closely with the change manager to ensure alignment of release and change management activity
  •   liaising with the IT owner regarding the release's IT change management
  •   reviewing issues raised in testing during Alpha and Beta, and ensuring suitable remediation plans are established, with the product owner.

Architecture documentation requirements during development

(Alpha and Beta)

In Accelerate, the architecture is developed in iterations that are presented to stakeholders. These descriptions of the solution are intended to:

  • align designs across teams
  • synchronize iterations between teams
  • communicate the description of the solution to support teams (for example, security, technical operations, quality, assurance, or privacy).

In an agile environment, the suitable level of architecture documentation is the minimum amount necessary for current discussions with the intended audience. A critical part of this is provided by the architecture runway (see below).

Principles for architecture owner

Principles that guide the architecture owner include:

  1. Collaboration – the architecture owner works collaboratively with the team to develop and evolve the architecture, benefiting from inclusion of a range of viewpoints.
  2. Empowering the team – 70% of skills development occurs on the job, so architecture owners and other team members with more skills and experience share their skills.
  3. Reducing complexity and uncertainty – the architecture owner identifies areas of technical complexity in the architecture, and mitigating them. This may involve setting up an architectural prototype.
  4. Communication – the architecture owner communicates decisions and guidelines (including coding standards, database, security, and control objectives) to the team. They also communicate the description of the solution to stakeholders as part of reviews.
  5. Ensuring the solution’s integrity – the architecture owner reviews the product backlog and the completed product increments to ensure the integrity of the product and the overall system.

Architectural runway

An architectural runway:

  •   is the responsibility of the architecture owner
  •   is a forward-looking view of the product’s architecture, the capabilities it needs, and the product increments that will provide them
  •   plans capabilities just in time for uninterrupted deployment of new business features to customers
  •   is recommended for managing technical complexity in agile projects.

Architecture runway and the product roadmap

The architecture runway aligns with the product roadmap created by the product owner. It considers the changes in IT components  needed to realise the customer benefits and creates a plan to deliver them.  The architecture runway forms the “bottom half” of the product roadmap as it describes the changes needed to provide the customer benefits described in the top half. A draft example from the BABII project is available on the Accelerate downloads page.

Product owner

The product owner is:

  • a member of the ‘core team’, along with the project manager, and architecture owner (and scrum master during development)  
  • the stakeholders’ representative on the team, and vice versa
  • the voice of the customer
  • accountable for ensuring that the team delivers value to the business and the customer.  

Communication and the product owner

Communication is a main function of the product owner, and the engagement of the product owner with the development team and stakeholders is extensive.

The communication tasks of the product owner to the stakeholders include:

  •   communicating between the team and stakeholders
  •   demonstrating the solution to key stakeholders  
  •   announcing releases
  •   communicating team status
  •   organising milestone reviews
  •   educating stakeholders in the development process
  •   negotiating priorities, scope, funding, and schedules
  •   communicating the product vision, strategy, roadmap, and releases to relevant parties.

Key relationships

The product owner’s key relationships are:

  • internally:

○     architecture owner

○     business owner

○     business representatives

○     benefits owner

○     business analysts

○     project managers

○     lead solution analysts

○     architects

○     testing

  •  externally:

○     external service providers

○     provider, vendor representatives

○     other government agencies.

General responsibilities

The product owner’s general responsibilities include:

  •   ensuring the solution provided is fit for purpose for the business
  •   prioritising features and user stories
  •   making scope versus quality trade-off decisions for the team with the architecture owner
  •   liaising with the benefits owner regarding change management and benefits management
  •   developing the product vision and strategy
  •   co-authoring the business operating model with the sponsor and the stakeholders
  •   working with the sponsor to define the business acceptance criteria
  •   working with the change manager and architecture owner to ensure alignment of release and change  management activity
  •   contributing to and approving the product roadmap and product release board(s)
  •   ensuring the product backlog is visible, transparent, and clear.

Development responsibilities

The product owner’s responsibilities during development (Alpha and Beta) include:

  •   reviewing test results prior to the approval of sprint deliverables, with the architecture owner
  •   reviewing issues raised in testing during Alpha and Beta and ensuring suitable remediation plans are established for risk accepted issues, with the architecture owner
  •   participating in daily stand up meetings, reviews, retrospectives, sprint and release planning
  •   provide input to the feature analysis and discussion with the team during sprint planning
  •   approving the sprint deliverables at the sprint review meeting with input from the architecture owner
  •   refining the product backlog.

Project space

A project space is a dedicated physical area for:

  •   some or all of the team to work in
  •   organising and displaying project materials
  •   team meetings.

The main benefits of a project space are that it:

  •   enables the team to collaborate and communicate more effectively and efficiently
  •   allows project information to be displayed visually helping with processing, organising and communicating information.

The importance of co-location is discussed in the Hot tips section.



Page last updated: 13/04/2016