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



Cost, Time, & Architecture – The Zen of Options Analysis

September 9, 2013

Solution architecture is typically designed within a project context. Although we focus on the right process for this design activity frequently in our blog, the intersection of that process with the process of delivering an actual production solution is very important. Constraints are a key reality in projects, and often they compete with achieving the “right” architecture. A process to guide a design through this gauntlet of project constraints is why we created our “Define Solution Options” process.

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The Art of Accepting Feedback

January 24, 2013

As practicing solution and enterprise architects we regularly present our work to our stakeholders for feedback. Those stakeholders range from mentors to peers to project teams to executive sponsors. In any and all of those situations, it is important to be able to accept feedback. Read more



How to Flub Your Design Review

September 30, 2011

We would like to share some common approaches that consistently lead to failed design review meetings. They are somewhat embellished for effect, but, sadly, are not all that far removed from real world experiences. If you are interested in an ineffective design review, please be sure to: Read more



Issue Resolution: Understanding the Problem

August 22, 2011

For a Solution Architect, creating the blueprint for a quality product is often only half the job: After all, the greatest design in the world isn’t worth much unless it is accurately implemented. Read more



Facts: The Architect’s “Big Stick”

August 16, 2011

“Speak softly and carry a big stick: You will go far.”
– African Proverb

Diplomat is a key role that Systems Flow’s architects often fill for our clients. Software projects and change initiatives inevitably bring disputes and disagreements over requirements, scope, priority, standards, architectures and solutions. While most project management disciplines offer approaches to managing issues, we have found a basic mantra that keeps us on track: Read more



Walk Softly and Carry a Proper Meeting Recap!

May 16, 2011

You know the drill:

It’s late Friday afternoon and someone tosses an email or instant message your way regarding what you thought was a resolved topic. Read more



Goal Based Conversations

April 19, 2011

I find myself asking my children with great frequency, “What is your goal?” Not in a philosophical “What are you going to do with your life” way, but in a “What could your goal be aside from making your sister cry” way. 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