Architecting

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    Communicating the definition of architecting or ‘to architecture’ can be defined in software and technically as what is to be set up. It is the building of a configuration or an arrangement of objects; a structure.

    In the software/ technical world, designing and documenting the architecture of a system is composed of planning, describing, and displaying the different relationships of various items making up the system. In other words, the architecture of any system is broken down into its components and shows how all the pieces are associated, connected, or joined (as in data modeling). In documenting the system, it is not only detailing the make-up of the system, but also includes procedures, methodology, events, actions, etc.

    Many skills are required to produce an effective and valuable functional architecture. When we build an architecture, we need:

    • to collaborate among our coworkers,
    • have great communication skills, and
    • most importantly, be organized.

    Without these skills, informative technical and requirement specifications, business assessments, review processes, etc. cannot be completed for the architecture.

    Also, guidelines need to be set before an architecture can be built. Building an architecture (even of a document) is not easy. We can think of a pyramid or a hierarchy. In so doing, do we work from the top down or the bottom up? Do we start at the top and know what you want to end up with or do you start from the bottom up and know what you have and try to build what you want from what currently exists? It is a difficult choice and each organization has to make up its own mind and decide on what fits them best.

    To help the decision process along the way, and to, e.g., help the technical writer build on the architecture of a document, here are some questions in random order:

    • What is to be the end result
    • What ideas, resources, etc. do you have to get to the end
    • Whom can you rely on for support
    • Do you have the knowledge and skills to perform the task
    • Do you have the tools to create the document
    • Whom can you get details from
    • Whom are you writing for
    • How is the document to be organized
    • Where is your information located
    • Is cost a major factor
    • What are the future plans

    Think about how you will begin the document. To help, try to number the items above by priority and see what works best for the organization. Only then will you know if you will be working from the top down or bottom up. As noted, the above example can also be applied when designing an architecture of a system. There are many more questions that need to be answered. The above is just a beginning.

    How would you define architecting and what experiences and solutions have you had in architecting a, e.g., document?