Architecture Review Board (ARB)

What is an Architecture Review Board (ARB)?

An Architecture Review Board (ARB) is a body that provides governance and oversight of an organization's architecture practices and standards. It often consists of senior architects, stakeholders, and experts who are experienced in the subject matter and architecture disciplines. It is a governance structure that provides direction to the enterprise architecture capability in an organization through assessing, evaluating, and approving EA initiatives for support of business and IT Strategy, architecture principles and standards, and elimination of duplication or overlapping initiatives[1]

The ARB aims to ensure consistency, alignment with strategic goals, and adherence to standards across the enterprise architecture. This includes the technical, data, application, business, and security architecture domains.

The ARB typically has several key responsibilities:

  1. Establishing and maintaining the enterprise architecture strategy and vision
  2. Developing, maintaining, and enforcing architecture policies and standards
  3. Reviewing and approving architecture designs, plans, and changes
  4. Providing advice and guidance to project teams on architecture matters
  5. Facilitating resolution of architecture issues and disputes

An ARB can bring significant benefits to an organization:

  1. It can improve the quality and consistency of architecture across the organization
  2. It can reduce risk by identifying and addressing architecture issues early
  3. It can increase alignment of IT investments with business goals and strategy
  4. It can facilitate communication and understanding between different stakeholders

However, there can also be some challenges:

  1. It may slow down decision-making due to the need for review and approval
  2. It may be seen as a bureaucratic hurdle by project teams
  3. It requires time and commitment from senior people who may already have heavy workloads

An example of the ARB's role could be in a large organization planning to transition to a cloud-based infrastructure. The ARB would review the proposed architecture designs to ensure they align with the organization's overall IT strategy, follow best practices for cloud architecture, and meet the organization's requirements for security and data protection.

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