n South African Computer Journal - Improving architectural design decisions : festschrift : dedicated to Derrick Kourie

Volume 2008, Issue 41
  • ISSN : 1015-7999
  • E-ISSN: 2313-7835



The value of architecture in a corporate information technology environment lies in providing clear guidance on technology choice and system design. Underpinning this is the ability of the architecture team to research the relevant architectural domains well, to formulate informed strategies, to document these explicitly, and to guide projects in their application. To do this, architects must make decisions between competing directions, including difficult trade-offs in their application. These decisions are often based solely on experience, gut-feel, even bias. They are typically arrived at using implicit reasoning such as rules of thumb, and are often poorly articulated. This results in generally poor corporate technology decision-making, and in unclearly documented architectural direction. This paper investigates what can be done to improve this decision-making. It positions architectural decision-making as an exercise in balancing design forces, and the role of solution architect as facilitator between the representative stakeholders. We describe an experience in building a team which has followed this approach in a particular corporate environment, and document the lessons learnt. This paper is written in honour of Derrick G. Kourie at the occasion of his 60th birthday.

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