Documenting Design Decisions

December 16, 2013

We previously discussed Options Analysis – our method for evaluating multiple viable technical solutions.  We also facilitate numerous smaller design choices at all levels of the architecture.  We often need to document these as “design decisions,” and use a common approach and format to document at all levels of design (conceptual, logical, physical, component, etc.).
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Prose: Great for Novels, Lousy for Solution Design

December 3, 2013

While we often find ourselves advocating for design documentation, we typically are referring to “some” design documentation vs. “more” design documentation.  When it comes to design documentation, more is actually not better.  We have encountered customers, and even other consulting firms, that deliver design documentation by the inch – measuring design quality horizontally across the binding.  We recommend not doing this!
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Don’t Get Distracted by the Document

October 16, 2012

This may seem like an odd blog coming from a company that is so deliverable focused, but it isn’t. A design document is not just a document, but a powerful tool for figuring out an architecture. However, it is easy to get caught up in the “task” of completing the design document and lose focus on deeply understanding the architecture.
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The Solution Architect’s Path to Success

April 11, 2012

Welcome to today’s blog. Sit back and relax. Close your eyes. Take some deep relaxing breaths. Envision a Utopian architecture project delivery:

  • Scope is clear and agreed upon,
  • Requirements are carefully crafted,
  • Read more

Manage Expectations with a “Terms of Reference” Document

June 20, 2011

As consulting business analysts and architects, we at Systems Flow are constantly in the trenches with our clients, helping envision & manage the change to their technology and business processes they need to be competitive and succeed.

Although we have formal processes & deliverables we rely on to deliver on our commitments to clients, it’s not always obvious to a project manager, business change sponsor or technical executive what those deliverables are, and how we use them. That’s where a clear, concise Terms of Reference (ToR) document comes in handy.

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Searching for Artifacts

April 8, 2011

Ar·ti·fact: An object produced or shaped by human craft, especially a tool,
or ornament of archaeological or historical interest.”
The American Heritage Dictionary

Interesting. In the software engineering field an artifact is: Read more

Getting Started with Artifacts

February 25, 2011

It can often be a challenge to demonstrate value the first time you introduce the concept of capturing and using artifacts – particularly where people aren’t in the habit of producing or using them. You may find yourself wondering where to start. You can demonstrate early value by using artifacts to identify scope, encourage feedback, and guide discovery: Read more

Artifact Misconceptions

February 18, 2011

I want to highlight some common misconceptions we hear related to the use of formal artifacts… Read more

One Artifact, One Vision

February 11, 2011

We have found that in a conversation with five people, each leaves with different threads resonating. Working as a team on a central artifact – a diagram, a list, a use case, whatever – is an extremely effective way of brokering clarity across a project team.

In the decentralized model, everybody takes personal notes with personal interpretations of the discussion. In some cases, perhaps a project manager or analyst scribes the entire meeting as “meeting notes”. Both are better suited for defense than success. Read more