Architecture Decisions

Long time, no type. I’ve been busy – but now have the time that this deserves.

I’ve just spend a near year acting as the Chief Architect at a large Canadian insurance company, and have many thoughts and insights I’ve love to share.

Here is one of the first.

Often, an architect, especially the chief architect, is asked to make an architectural decision. Typically, an IT resource is asking him or her to make the decision, but what needs to happen is the requester has legwork to do.

Typically, a high level assessment of what would be required to deploy the decision in the prospective environment is necessary. It is typically works done by their team, or by operations, or an application team.

The goal is to provide you with some key drivers you can use to make an informed decision.

Although we would not perform a detailed assessment of the technology or solution, we would examine it at a high level the with the resources at hand.

The requester should then present this to the architecture team so they can make this architectural decision an informed one, and ensure the deployment on the platform of choice is valid.

In detail – the requester needs to do the following:

1) Assess and document the root problem being addressed.

2) Provide an overview of each option / alternative.

3) Give a Summary of evaluation criteria

4) Give a Comparison of each alternative relative to evaluation criteria.

5) List of “Implications” and “Impacts” of the recommended decision (assuming they have a recommendation).

Ideally, we’d like to reach a conclusion in the meeting together. Typically, questions that arise because resources are asking for a decision tend to raise a lot of questions when presented for the first time – leading to take-away work to gather specific information /research to feed a final downstream decision.

Time is usually in short supply, we’ll attempt to work to the goal of a recommended decision within the meeting and the architecture team can provide guidance on the type of trials, prototypes and tests required in order for them to either raise this to the architecture review board, or make their decision.

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