Monday, December 01, 2008

Architectural Principles and Solution Architectures

How I see it...

There is a difference between architectural principles and solution architectures. Architectural principles are guidance in ambiguous situations toward an ideal. A solution architecture holds the trade-off. Deviating from the principle must be motivated, adhere to the principle not. That's what enterprise architecture is about: principles, decisions and solutions.

Architectural principles help in decision-making, solution architectures help in building systems solutions. Architects should recognize this difference. Architectural principles lead to design-to-change, solution architectures lead to design-to-release. Practice learns that not all architects do make this distinction. And even worse, some architects don't see the necessity to lean on the guiding principles to which you may deviate during the designing of the solution.

If you don't take into account architectural principles that guide you to flexibility in changing the system across versions, and you don't document your design decisions that deviate from them, you may build perfectly working systems for extremely happy users and at the same time create a nightmare when you have to build and release the next version of the system. That may turn to be lethal for businesses in a world with the current increasing pace of change.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Jack,
you could write more about:
- how do you communicate architectural principles to solution architect
- how do you "accept" designed solution (do you have any checklists or similar tools?)

thanks a lot, pr

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