It’s Not About the Tool

September 6, 2012

For practically every profession under the sun there are tools that make the job easier. From bakers to builders, everyone has their choice of implements to ply their trade. Naturally these tools will range from entry level, toy tools to expensive gadgets with more features and sophistication. Enterprise architecture is certainly no exception.

One of our primary tools for designing architecture, of course, is a modeling tool. Modeling tools help us visualize our design into standard, in our case UML, models. There are a variety of these tools in the marketplace, ranging from basic “drawing style” tools to far more advanced suites with “model awareness”, version control, team collaboration capabilities, etc.

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System Architecture Diagrams

August 13, 2012

Diagramming software systems is still a largely undisciplined activity, despite the many advancements in notation and methodology made over the last 10-15 years.

The typical “Systems Architecture Diagram” profile of a large organization goes something like this: Read more



Investigative Architecture: The Data Perspective

July 31, 2011

“Investigative Architecture” is a term we at Systems Flow coined a few years ago for a core, overarching discipline of ours. It describes – and prescribes – the sometimes tedious, but always challenging, process that a working architect employs to locate and absorb information about a problem space in order to create usable, professional visual work products that best communicate a solution. Read more



Goal Oriented Diagrams

April 25, 2011

A few years back we presented for the first time at the Open Group Architecture Practitioners Conference in Miami, FL. I spoke about a topic about which we are passionate: UML as an Enterprise Architecture diagramming notation. Read more



Not Convinced Yet? More Reasons to Diagram with UML

April 1, 2011

We have found UML to be an extremely powerful tool and frequently use it to understand problems, design solutions, and broker stakeholder agreement.

I previously shared the fundamental reasons why we use UML, and wanted to share some additional reasons we find it to be an enabler for creating top-quality architecture diagrams: Read more



“Zoom in” & “Zoom out” with UML

March 25, 2011

In architecture diagramming – its all about Scope.

Too often diagrams are stuffed to the brim with content in a desperate attempt to show a complete architecture. Instead, Systems Flow’s approach values clarity over completeness. It is more important to focus the lens of your diagram on on what is architecturally significant.

Using our preferred architecture notation (UML), its easy to “zoom in”, “zoom out” or – for that matter – zoom “left” or “right” on an architecture.

Here are some examples of different scoping levels using the same UML component diagram notation:

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Why We Use UML

March 10, 2011

Our team has experienced great success with visual modeling based on the Unified Modeling Language. I am not going to define UML nor describe its origin in any detail, – you can review the UML section of our Leveraging UML as a Standard Notation for Enterprise Architecture presentation for that – but instead focus on what we perceive to be the foundation benefits of choosing UML as our “go to” diagramming notation.

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