Rethinking enterprise architecture for DevOps, agile, & cloud native organizations

By Michael Coté

Elevator Pitch

As DevOps marauds through organizations who’re becoming more cloud-native, the role of enterprise architects is changing. EA’s helped oversee & govern the software life-cycle, but many of their tasks are now pushed to teams & platforms. This talk gives an overview of this shift, with advice for EAs.



Current application theory says that all responsibility for software should be pushed down to the actual DevOps-style team writing, delivering, and running the software. This leaves Enterprise Architect role in the dust, seemingly killing it off. In addition to this being disquieting to EAs out there who have steep mortgage payments and other expensive hobbies, it seems to drop out the original benefits of enterprise architecture, namely oversight of all IT-related activities to make sure things both don’t go wrong (e.g., with spending, poor tech choices, problematic integration, etc.) and that things, rather, go right.

I’ve spoken with several EA teams over the past few years about the changing nature of how EAs can help in a DevOps- and cloud-native-driven culture. I’ll share their experiences including what type of EA help is actually needed and helps organizations thrive.


Despite hardly a mention and much shade thrown at enterprise architects, the DevOps world can use their help, even needs it. This is especially true in large organizations as the case studies in this talk show. This need, however, manifests itself differently than our straw-person, traditional concepts of enterprise architects. Much coordination is still needed, product managing the shared platforms, and otherwise helping to lead the changes need to improve the organization’s software.