Agile without an effective architecture always creates great chaos, especially when organizations are trying to set their Agile practice without giving any framework.
As architects, we always try to operate within partially given constraints, which in their nature can be customer oriented, financial, regulatory, technical, or competitive.
While agile practices have traditionally been limited to software development, companies, especially large enterprises, are under considerable pressure to use agile practices to manage traditional business functions.
Most agile frameworks that try to implement Scrum for large organisations always have a placeholder for architecture. The main difference is that they tend to emphasise cooperation, simplicity, and decentralised governance. This can take place in its full beauty in the capability architecture within the framework of strategic and segment architecture.
The SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework) framework has contributed most to identifying the role of architecture in an agile environment. As with all things around Agile, it’s about creating a consistent value, and architecture is no different.
Emergent Design provides the technical foundation for the development and gradual implementation of initiatives. It helps designers and architects respond to changing customer and stakeholder needs to ensure that the initiative continues to create value.
Intentional architecture is a more structured approach and is more aligned with what many would call traditional architecture, i.e., a set of defined and planned architectural initiatives designed to support and improve the performance and usability of the initiative.
So does “Agile need Architecture to be Successful?” I would say the better question is “What type of Architecture does Agile need to be successful?” Agile requires Architecture that supports the way the Agile Practices deliver outcomes (value). The type of Architecture that will do this will be a combination of a reactive style of Architecture supported by a more traditional structured approach to Architecture.