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VA Enterprise Architecture

Product Line Architecture (PLA)


Architecture and Engineering Service (AES) Team supports the Agile Center of Excellence (ACOE) Product Line Management (PLM) by developing Product Line Architecture (PLA). Activities include planning, research, artifact development, and analysis. AES team helps define current state PLA and recommends target state improvements. VA has multiple mission areas, Veteran services and business functions that fall within product lines defined by ACOE.

PLA Purpose

The purpose of the PLA is to:

  • Ensure a business need or performance gap is considered in the enterprise context and is factually based on analysis
  • Facilitate deliberate planning, prioritization, and investment decision-making
  • Establish/confirm alignment with VA and information technology (IT) strategic goals, performance goals and priorities, and strategies
  • Recommend the Portfolio or Product Line (PL) target state with epics that achieve that target state
  • Enable prioritization of architectural backlog for input into the IT capital planning and budgeting, alternatives analysis, and acquisition processes

PLAs define the roadmap for a core mission area, business service, or enterprise service. They are driven by business needs and deliver products that improve the delivery of services to VA staff and customers. From an investment perspective, PLAs drive decisions for a business case or group of business cases supporting a core mission area or a common or shared service. The primary stakeholders for PLAs are executives, senior leaders, and their staff who run VA business operations.

The PLA is related to Enterprise Architecture (EA) through three principles: structure, reuse, and alignment. First, the PLA inherits the framework that EA uses, although it may be extended and specialized to meet the specific needs of a core mission area or common or shared service. Second, the PLA methodology reuses important assets defined at the enterprise level including data, common business processes and investments, and applications and technologies. Third, the PLA methodology aligns with elements defined at the enterprise level, such as business strategies, mandates, standards, and performance goals. These principles are essential elements in ensuring PLA value.

PLA Artifacts

To successfully support PLM, AES Team creates five architecture views that present complex information clearly and coherently. The purpose of these views is to enable business owners, Portfolio Managers, and Product Line Managers to plan and execute product enhancements for their systems. These architecture views divide the problem space into manageable pieces, according to the stakeholder’s viewpoint:

There are five core architecture views identified for each Product Line:

  • OV-1: The High-Level Operational Concept Graphic describes the interactions between the subject architecture and its environment, as well as between the architecture and external systems within the Product Line.
  • OV-5A: The Operational Activity Hierarchy is a high-level view of the hierarchy of the operational activities within the Product Line. This is effectively the VA EA Business Reference Model (BRM) organized in a hierarchal structure limited to business function.
  • SV-1: The System Context Description displays Product Line system relationships to systems within and outside of the Product Line, as well as the interfaces between them. The SV-1 is a bridge between the architecture’s Operational View (OV) and Systems View (SV).
  • SV-5B: Operational Activity to Systems traceability addresses the linkage between SV-1 and operational activities specified in OV-5A Operational Activity Decomposition Tree. The SV-5B depicts the systems mapped to business functions.
  • Line-of-Sight: This view displays the relationships between the different architectural layers (Strategy, Business, Data, System, Technology, Hosting) within the VA for each system in the Product Line.

The purpose of these views is to enable business owners, Portfolio Managers, and Product Line Managers to plan and execute product enhancements for their systems.

Compliance & Standards