Documentation Trivializes Everything

June 5, 2017

Several years ago my colleague Dan wrote about how we Should Not Get Distracted by the Document. Dan made the case that architecture documents are tools to figure out architecture, not the ex-post-facto results of architecture design you’ve already done in less disciplined ways (verbal debates, email chains, “brainstorming” and other adhoc, document-less activities).

But I am going to one-up Dan right now by declaring that focusing on documentation absolutely trivializes what we do as architects. Read more



Know Your Personality

May 22, 2017

5 years ago I wrote that the best personality to have in architecture consulting was the “Type A” – a personality type characterized by ambition, high energy, competitiveness, and thought to be susceptible to stress and heart disease. The whole Type A/B model of personalities isn’t a very reliable one (it was concocted by cardiologists in the 1950s), but I went with it since it is still in colloquial use, and was close enough to my meaning.

This is what they call “Passive-Aggressive”

The point was to stress the importance of being aggressive and/or assertive at the right times during your IT consulting work, although this is not always the right way to be. Knowing when to turn on your Inner Hulk, or your Inner Milton Waddams (the wimpy guy with the red stapler in the movie, Office Space) depends on where your baseline is.

So here is some wildly conflicting personality advice that will or will not apply directly to you. Read more



Regis Sets Course on a 5-year IT Strategy

February 27, 2017

We are thrilled to share some public mention with Regis college about the great and rewarding work we’ve done together recently to define their IT strategy! Text of the press release is below:

Regis, a leading Catholic university in Greater Boston, launches a long-term information technology strategy with the help of Systems Flow, Inc., a minority, woman-owned consulting firm based in Rhinebeck, NY, which specializes in IT & business architecture. Read more



April 2017 – Investigative Architecture Training

February 2, 2017

We are pleased to announce our next Investigative Architecture Training which will be held in Lincoln, RI on April 13 & 14, 2017.

Read more



What’s My Function…Or Is It Non-Function?

January 27, 2017

One of the substantial differences between an architect and a software developer is regarding requirements. In general, a developer is concerned with functional requirements while an architect is concerned with non-functional requirements. Of course, there is some overlap between each requirement type and the type of person focusing on each, but that is generally how it’s divided. Read more



The Art of the Recap

November 7, 2016

If a meeting occurs, but nobody sends a recap, did the meeting happen?

We have blogged about the importance of a meeting recap, but spoke more of the practice of using meeting recaps and less of the art of creating a good recap. We do have internal guidelines that we follow, but through our mentoring process we also attempt to build expertise beyond the template and guidelines. This is my attempt to share some of that company lore. Read more



“Who” Creates Risk

September 15, 2016
Costello: Well then who's on first? Abbott: Yes.
Costello: I mean the fellow's name. Abbott: Who.
Costello: The guy on first. Abbott: Who.
Costello: The first baseman. Abbott: Who.
Costello: The guy playing... Abbott: Who is on first!

Today’s blog is triggered by the entry authored by my friend and colleague, Ben Sommer, reflecting on the laziness of describing architecture with pronouns. In our roles as architects, IT strategists, or just technical leaders guiding successful project implementations we frequently find ourselves defining plans and parceling out tasks.

Read more



Don’t Hide Behind Pronouns!

September 1, 2016

“Ya know…we send them stuff”

Let’s admit first off what none of us want to admit – that most of us have forgotten what exactly a “pronoun” is…

Its basically any use of “you”, “we”, “them”, “they”, etc. – unspecific references to people or actors in a conversation or past event being discussed.

Believe it or not – the lazy use of pronouns is a huge problem in the field of IT architecture & design, and even business analysis.

Example:

  • Bob is a project architect at a college facilitating a workshop for the design of an interface between two systems
  • In describing the current flow of information between the two systems, Bob states that “We send them a file nightly”.

Who is “we” and “them”? Bob needs to specifically state it. Read more



Bank Secrecy Act Compliance

May 6, 2016

Map of Countries Under Sanction by the US Government

Compliance with regulations coming from governments and from industry associations is a big problem for our clients – whatever the industry. In working with several banks over the years, we’ve become adept at identifying gaps and designing solutions for one of the most wide-reaching regulations for such organizations: the Bank Secrecy Act – aka “BSA”.

The BSA was passed by the US Congress nearly 50 years ago. It stipulates reporting and auditing that banks must perform on themselves and their customers to identify potential money laundering, terrorist financing, and other criminal financial activities. Its requirements have only grown over the years – especially since the 2001 terrorist attacks in the US – when the federal government heightened requirements on banks and financial institutions to “partner” with it in fighting terrorists and their financial networks. Read more



Open Group San Francisco 2016

January 15, 2016

We are happy to announce that after a brief hiatus, we will be presenting again at the Open Group Conference, this year in San Francisco, January 25-27. Ben Sommer and I will be presenting in the Architecture Methods and Techniques track. 

The theme of this conference is “How Enterprise Architecture is empowering companies to build better systems by architecting for digital business strategies.” Read more



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