You are here

Home » Handbook A-Z » About the Washington State Architecture Handbook

About the Washington State Architecture Handbook

Intent of the Handbook

The intent of the architecture handbook is to promote the alignment of technology solutions with the State of Washington Enterprise Technology Strategic Plan and associated statewide technology strategies.  Furthermore, the intent of the handbook is to focus on strategic alignment while not overburdening agencies with compliance. 

Intended Use

Agencies are expected to align with the content within the architecture handbook; however, agencies may not be able to comply with all the content. Agencies do not need to submit a waiver based on an inability to implement the applied best practices, recommendations, and/or guidelines presented in the architecture handbook.

Types of Content and Governance

The architecture handbook contains three types of content:


Applied Best Practices and Lessons Learned

The intent of the applied best practice handbook content is to provide a mechanism for agencies to share real best practices that are based on one or more agency applications of those practices.  Furthermore, the intent is to provide a mechanism for sharing experiences related to technology issues, challenges, opportunities, and/or solutions wherein an agency/s have successfully derived business value.  Applied best practices may include steps, checklists, processes, and things to consider if undertaking an effort or implementing a solution. Applied best practices are developed by the OCIO EA Program in collaboration with agencies that successfully applied the best practices.

Example from the architecture handbook: Data Governance Program Checklist for use if an agency is looking to establish a data governance program in support of enhancing the state’s ability to manage and share information


Recommendations represent information and provide insight to agencies based on subject matter expertise from multiple agencies and/or industry.  The expectation is that agencies review and consider these recommendations when undertaking technology efforts, making investments, and/or implementing solutions.  Recommendations are developed by chartered multi-agency workgroups such as the Statewide Enterprise Architecture Resource Team.  Recommendations are adopted based on the review and consensus of the workgroup.

Example from the architecture handbook: IPv6 Design Considerations


Guidelines represent guardrails related to a topic or technology; however, their release as a policy or standard could create an immediate or undue burden on agencies.  Agencies are expected to align with guidelines and stay within the guardrails associated with the guidelines.  Agencies do not need to submit compliance related waivers when it comes to guidelines; however, the OCIO will be looking for alignment when conducting oversight activities including but not limited to:

  • DP Reviews and Scoring
  • RFP Reviews
  • Investment Plan Approvals
  • Project Oversight
  • Technical Oversight
  • Project Assessments

Guidelines are developed by chartered multi-agency workgroups. Guidelines are adopted once reviewed by agency CIOs and approved by the OCIO.

Example from the architecture handbook: Integration and interoperability strategy with SFTP/FTP-S and web service – API guidelines