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Enhance Your Application Architecture

Architect your applications with a foundation of well-defined stakeholder needs and quality attributes.

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Contributors

  • Andy Neill, Enterprise Architect at Loblaws Inc.
  • Timothy Corrigan, Solutions Architect at Zs Associates Inc.
  • Darrell Enslinger, Chief Solutions Architect at Government Employees Health Association Inc.
  • Daniel Brittain, Assistant Vice-President of Enterprise Architecture at Farm Credit Mid-America
  • Miles Neale, Senior IT Architect at the Washington State Department
  • Ben Wong, Enterprise Architect at Ivari
  • Eric Robinson, Enterprise Architecture Manager at Lowe’s Companies
  • Rakesh Thakur, Technical Architect at Perficient Inc.
  • Steve Eidemiller, Lead Enterprise Architect at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota
  • Djamel Djemaoun Hamidson, Senior Enterprise Architect at Radio-Canada

Your Challenge

  • Most organizations have some form of application architecture; however, it may not accurately and sufficiently support the current and rapidly changing business and technical environments.
  • In an attempt to enable quick delivery, applications are built and integrated haphazardly, typically omitting architecture quality practices.
  • However, architects are getting little traction on implementing solutions to improve architecture quality due to the challenge of tracing these solutions back to the right stakeholder objectives.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • Well-received applications can have poor architectural qualities. Functional needs often take precedence over high quality architecture. Inadequate quality will eventually affect metrics if left out of the initial design.
  • Systems are designed in isolation. Cross-functional collaboration throughout design is critical to ensure all types of issues are revealed early. Otherwise, crucial tests are omitted, deployments fail, and end users are dissatisfied.

Impact and Result

  • Regularly review and recalibrate your application architecture so that it accurately reflects and supports current stakeholder needs and technical environments. Actively involve and consult stakeholders and technical teams throughout the architecture design process.
  • Translate stakeholder objectives into architecture requirements, solutions, and changes. Incorporate application architecture quality attributes in decisions to increase your architecture’s life.
  • Evaluate your application architecture from multiple views (i.e. use case, process, component, data, deployment, and system) to obtain a holistic perspective of the range of issues, risks, and opportunities to address.
  • Adopt the architecture patterns and styles that will help solve key design challenges. Create a reusable reference architecture that technical teams can use to discuss and implement architecture solutions and changes.

Research & Tools

Start here – read the Executive Brief

Read our concise Executive Brief to find out how to enhance your application architecture, review Info-Tech’s methodology, and understand the four ways we can support you in completing this project.

1. Define your stakeholder objectives

Understand the stakeholder objectives motivating application architecture and define application architecture quality attributes.

2. Assess your current application architecture

Understand the current state of your application architecture and identify its issues, risks, and opportunities.

3. Define your target architecture and define your design process

Identify and justify architectural solutions and changes to address current issues and stakeholder needs and define a repeatable architecture design process.

Guided Implementations

This guided implementation is a seven call advisory process.

Guided Implementation #1 - Define your stakeholder objectives

Call #1 - Review your understanding of stakeholder needs and scope of your application architecture optimization.
Call #2 - Discuss your interpretation of architecture quality attributes.

Guided Implementation #2 - Document your current application architecture

Call #1 - Review the current state of your application architecture from multiple perspectives and drive out key areas of constraints and issues.
Call #2 - Discuss the findings of your current state assessment and the impacts they have on architecture quality and value delivery.

Guided Implementation #3 - Design your target architecture and define your design process

Call #1 - Review your target state and the tactical plan and roadmap to achieve this state.
Call #2 - Discuss your justification behind proposed architecture changes from a business rationale, risk, and cost-benefit perspective.
Call #3 - Review your architecture design process.

Onsite Workshop

Discuss This Workshop

Book Your Workshop

Onsite workshops offer an easy way to accelerate your project. If you are unable to do the project yourself, and a Guided Implementation isn't enough, we offer low-cost onsite delivery of our project workshops. We take you through every phase of your project and ensure that you have a roadmap in place to complete your project successfully.

Module 1: Define Your Stakeholder Objectives

The Purpose

  • Gather, understand, and interpret stakeholder objectives for application architecture.
  • Describe the use cases of your application system.
  • Define application architecture quality attributes in your context.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Clear understanding of the stakeholder objectives and quality attributes driving your application architecture.
  • Consensus of the scope of the application architecture design.
  • In-depth knowledge of the application functionalities supporting business capabilities.

Activities

Outputs

1.1

Understand stakeholder objectives.

  • List of stakeholder objectives
1.2

Clarify application functionalities.

  • Use-case view of application system
1.3

Define quality attributes.

  • Application architecture quality attributes

Module 2: Document Your Current Application Architecture

The Purpose

  • Review your current application architecture through multiple representations.
  • Identify the issues, risks, and opportunities within your current architecture.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Realization and understanding of the complexities of your current application system.
  • Identification of the various areas of concern that can impede your ability to meet architecture requirements.

Activities

Outputs

2.1

Document your current state architecture.

  • Multiple representations and views of your current application architecture and list of current constraints
2.2

Review architectural issues, risks, and opportunities.

  • List of architecture issues, risks, and opportunities to address

Module 3: Design Your Target Architecture and Define Your Design Process

The Purpose

  • Design an application architecture target state that addresses current issues, opportunities, and stakeholder functional needs.
  • Create a compelling case for architectural decisions.
  • Define a repeatable application architecture design process.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Creation of a target application architecture that addresses high priority issues and needs.
  • Justification of application architecture design decisions from stakeholder, cost-benefit, and risk perspectives.
  • Well-understood application architecture design process.

Activities

Outputs

3.1

Design your target state application architecture options.

  • Target state application architecture design and reference architecture
3.2

Justify your architecture decisions.

  • Stakeholder, cost-benefit, and risk analysis of design options and an implementation timeline
3.3

Define your application architecture process.

  • Application architecture design process