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Document-based EA model collaboration

eaDocX and eaRevisionManager provide a cost effective, powerful solution for efficient document-based collaboration in Sparx EA, helping organizations share and maintain accurate and up-to-date models in a rapidly evolving business landscape.

Delivering Business Change with Enterprise Architect

Enterprise Architect allows organizations to model a comprehensive view of their structure, processes, data, applications, and technology infrastructure. It helps organizations align their strategic objectives with their IT capabilities, supporting the key competencies of agility, compliance, and innovation.

As the business landscape evolves, Enterprise Architect models need to be kept up to date, to deliver informed decision-making and successful digital transformations.

To successfully deliver change, we need to ensure that our models are as accurate and complete as possible. And so we need tools that will help to share information and encourage collaboration with the widest range of key stakeholders. There are several options, but the best methods and tools to do this will vary depending on:

  • the organizational culture,
  • the scale and complexity of the change,
  • the nature of the change – technical and non-technical aspects will need different strategies for collaboration and review.

And the approach may evolve over the lifecycle of projects and programs, reflecting the shift in focus, stakeholders, and activities from one phase to another.

Different Dimensions - Different Solutions

If you have data in EA that you need to share and collaborate with stakeholders who aren’t EA modelers, you have two main choices: using Prolaborate or using documents. Here’s our guide to the most appropriate choice, depending on the nature of the data you are sharing.

Dimension 1: Unstructured to Structured Data

The types of content you are working with may be very unstructured or very visual, such as mind maps, storyboards or wireframes.

Sparx in the Cloud users can share unstructured modeling easily using Prolaborate. Then, as the data becomes gradually more structured, viewers can collaborate on individual diagrams, processes or elements. Prolaborate also has some fun visualizations to make the EA diagrams more engaging for stakeholders.

Contrast that with model content that must be curated and defined to create contractual, legal or regulatory deliverables. As a key output of your modeling work, documents need to be signed off as a curated whole; whether they are specifications, designs, reports or verification/compliance status documents.

For each of these, you know at the outset what the document templates and contents are, and will probably prepare drafts prior to the final version – to check for completeness and to put the data in context. Using eaDocX it’s easy to produce early versions of the documents and share them to gather inputs from stakeholders. Then with eaRevisionManager simply collate and incorporate the review comments and edits back into EA, prior to delivery of the final deliverables.

Of course these examples are at the far ends of this spectrum, but much of the modeling that we do is somewhere in between these two extremes. In which case other factors may be significant.

Dimension 2: Technical to Business Stakeholders

Often, those who are modeling technical solutions will be working in Agile development environments with time-bounded ‘sprints’. They may be interfacing with code and other technical tools such as JIRA, Confluence or Azure DevOps. Their stakeholders will be used to, and/or expect, to access andcollaborate with EA modeling on-line. In this environment, modelers and reviewers will benefit from the live Prolaborate interface, allowing EA data to be shared seamlessly with users who have access to those apps.

At the other extreme are longer term business change projects. These may include modeling of new or changed processes, introduction of new products or services or architectures that have roadmaps of change stretching over weeks and months. Such projects are often managed with ‘traditional’ office tools such as spreadsheets, presentations and documents, where the collaboration tool of choice is Teams or SharePoint.

In these cases, stakeholders may prefer familiar collaboration tools. Documents or spreadsheets they can make changes to, or pictures they can scribble on. Using eaDocX or eaSheets to deliver the information in familiar formats for such collaborations makes it easy for stakeholders to contribute in the way that suits them best. And making any resulting changes to the model is fast and simple – using ea Revision Manager, or eaSheets.

Dimension 3: Different project phases and milestones

Those who are following any kind of structured project governance process will be following a phased approach. Between phases there are usually milestone reviews with prescribed documented deliverables, with specified contents and formats to meet organizational governance standards. For EA modelers working in the cloud, sharing and developing work with stakeholders between milestones, can benefit from instant online collaboration. But for the milestone deliverables, documents are often needed. So you may need both.

Making collaboration work


Prolaborate is the web-based collaboration platform for Enterprise Architect, facilitating model collaboration with a wide stakeholder community. Modelers curate data for each stakeholder or stakeholder group, with dashboards containing whatever model data is appropriate for them. Each stakeholder is given tailored access to view or edit or comment on each part of their dashboard contents. Prolaborate can also define specific model contents for review . It’s a really good way to access EA. Some things to consider:

  1. To successfully implement Prolaborate, it should be considered as a change project as it needs an investment of time and resources:
    1. From your organization to set up the environment, in-house or outsourced.
    2. From your modeling team to create and maintain the dashboards, views and permissions for each model stakeholder. Access control is granular – view/edit/comment permissions – controlled per stakeholder, per element type and stereotype, and even per attribute, field or tagged value.
    3. From your stakeholders, who will need training in using the tool to navigate the dashboards and views and manage what they see. Plus training in the modeling standards implemented.
  2. Stakeholders with edit permissions change the model content. It’s a fast way to get input. We recommend organizations consider what changes will be needed to their project and model governance processes to manage the updates, understand the changes and confirm that all the data changes applied to the model are consistent.
  3. Stakeholders with comment permissions can add their wisdom all over the model – and everyone can join the conversation. Modelers and model managers will need to check the proposed changes for consistency, prior to integrating them back into the model.


eaDocX and eaRevisionManager

Everyone already understands documents, although as they provide a ‘moment in time’ snapshot view, it’s important to ensure they can be created quickly and easily and then make sure any updates to the model are managed quickly and efficiently.

  1. With eaDocX you can create Word documents with the contents and formatting that your stakeholders expect and recognize.
    1. Create as many customized documents and document templates as you need.
    2. Save model content formatting and document structures with smart templates for instant report creation.
    3. Or easily insert EA content into ANY Word document.
    4. Document structures can be independent of your model structure, and created and formatted using the familiar Word interface.
    5. If needed, simply use conditional formatting to highlight where input is required.
  2. eaRevisionManager makes the task of updating the model fast and easy, combining feedback from lots of documents and reviewers into a single easy to use interface. With traceability of changes and tools for conflict resolution, ea Revision Manager delivers effective model and document change control, improving modeler productivity.

Considerations for using documents to manage model collaboration.

  • Familiar ways of working: For stakeholders, there is no need to access and learn another tool, and no requirement to do anything except review Word documents in the same way they always have. No new technology required, no learning curve. eaDocX creates Word documents that can be read and revisions added exactly the same as any other Word document.
  • No additional tasks for the modeling team. Just create and send out documents for review.
  • It’s easy to maintain model consistency. eaRevisionManager combines the revisions and comments resulting from any and all eaDocX document reviews, and presents the feedback collected for each EA element or package or diagram. All the additions, edits, or comments.
  • Compatible with document versions reviewed by multiple reviewers and multiple documents – e.g. documents published to Teams. Revision Manager maintains traceability of each addition, edit and comment with the individual reviewer who contributed.
  • One click commit. With all the inputs viewed together, in context, it’s easy for the modeler to choose the changes needed, then with a single click they are committed to the model.
  • Clear impact analysis. eaRevisionManager lets the modeler easily navigate into the model, to assess the proposed change in context – and understand potential impacts. This proactive approach minimizes risks and helps modelers make informed decisions about model updates.
  • Reduce and resolve conflicts. When multiple stakeholders are reviewing the same model content simultaneously, and even reviewing it in several different documents, eaRevisionManager helps the modeler identify and resolve conflicts when different users propose contradictory changes.
  • Version Control and Change Tracking. As changes are saved back into EA, eaRevisionManager provides a full audit trail. It records who made the change, what was modified, when the change occurred, and which document review prompted the change. This information is crucial for maintaining a clear audit trail of model revisions.


Maintaining accurate and up-to-date EA models is essential in today’s rapidly evolving business landscape.

Depending on the organization, the nature of the data being modeled, the type and timing of deliverables required, and the changes being planned and implemented, different EA  collaboration approaches are available.

Which one is best for you?

Find out more about document-based model collaboration

… at ea Revision Manager

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