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A.R.B. The dreaded three letter acronym of your IT community and another one of those mysterious IT things for your business partners. Architecture Review Board. What is it good for? What it is. What it isn’t. And what it should be.

What is it good for?

  • Creates awareness of major projects that will impact the architecture and possibly architecture standards going forward

  • Gain alignment of key stakeholders what the architecture will be for an upcoming major project or a new architecture standard

  • Providing feedback and SUPPORT to the team presenting to the ARB so they can solve for better solution options (architectures) for given upcoming project/transformation

What it is

  • A meeting to create awareness, alignment and SUPPORT for an upcoming project/transformation or new architecture standard

  • Meeting should be headed by the Chief Architect, facilitated by the Lead Architect of the project /transformation pursuit and attended by IT line managers that will be critical in successful execution of the upcoming project or transformation

  • A decision making meeting on the architecture

What it isn’t

  • A detailed review of the proposed project/transformation architecture

  • A meeting of architects to make decisions on the true project stakeholders behalf

  • A meeting in addition to the standard governance process to define and fund a project/transformation

  • A architecture review during the execution of a project/transformation

What it should be

  • A steering committee meeting/stakeholder meeting for the early pursuit stages of a major project/transformation


  • A meeting to align and decide on a new architecture standard with key stakeholders

You really shouldn’t have separate ARB meetings from the typical meetings and governance mechanics you already have in place. If your company is contemplating a major change/project/transformation there should be a steering team that is put in place to guide and support the program. For those meetings the Chief Architect is the accountable advisor on the overall solution architecture and the Lead Architect on the project is responsible to develop the architecture with the pursuit team. The steering committee has a decision making framework that then decides on the architecture to choose.

If you are going to have separate ARB meetings at least call them AABs. Architecture Advisory Board meetings. Review = policing/audit; Advice = help/support.

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