Architecture Diagram – not a moment too soon

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Sometimes, developing an architecture for your product and putting it on a well-defined diagram may see a task that can be delayed, especially in early stages. Many agile methodologies allow us to move forward even without a clear visibility of the far future, so in some cases the architecture is not needed to develop an MVP. However, my experience clearly shows that having a good, solid, sustainable architecture planned as early as possible can help you move faster – dramatically reducing cost and mitigating risks. When being asked by startup companies – “How early do we need an architecture?” my answer, in most cases would be that it is needed as early as possible, and that moving forward without it can be a very expensive mistake.

In this post I’ll share some of the values and benefits you can gain with different audiences from having an architecture diagram and blueprint as early as possible, even (and especially) if it’s not a final one, but a draft that will later become a living document.

Investors –

Using a well-planned architecture, you can show investors that you know what you’re doing. An architecture diagram and blueprint are a very straight-forward way to demonstrate your skills and capabilities – show that you have picked the right approach, the right tools and systems, and the right technology stack.

Even when working on a very limited MVP, an architecture is a good way to show that you understand what you intend to develop, and that you are aware of relevant considerations – especially the ones that should be taken in the future.

Clients –

Even when you only have a very simple product or service, your diagram can show clients that this is part of something much bigger. When clients see the full picture, it helps build trust and confidence in you, your product, and the journey you’re about to ask them to join. You don’t always want to disclose your architecture, but it may come in handy when discussing your product with clients who are technology savvy.

Team –

Using Agile methodologies, companies can move fast, in small steps, to create very achievable value in short timeframes. This eliminates the need for a detailed long-term plan, as the plan itself is created as the product evolves. Your architecture then becomes your map. Your architecture then becomes your compass. Your architecture is the way to make sure that every small step is well aligned with what you’re willing to create.

Leadership –

Technology can be deeply impacted by different considerations. Your architecture is your way to reflect all relevant considerations and put them in place – even if you decide to take care of it on a later stage. Knowing your security, privacy, regulation considerations as early as possible – is crucial. Knowing your performance, scaling and cost considerations – is of great importance. Taking availability, reliability and business continuity into consideration is also something that will be relevant at some point. This is just an example – each company can have many additional key aspects to consider.

When first planning your product, you make decisions that may seem small, but are critical to your development path – choosing your stack, your tools, systems that you will use and sometimes even providers. Sometimes those decisions are based on previous experience with a specific tool or system, without validating that it is suitable for the job. An architecture diagram is a good way to validate (or re-validate as needed) your decisions, and make sure they are aligned and coherent.

Using your architecture diagram – you can help leadership make the right decisions, avoid expensive mistakes and increase your product development velocity.

In early stages it is sometime difficult to put everything on a diagram. However, as difficult as it may be, every resource you invest in drafting your architecture as early as you can is a resource well invested.

The results, almost promptly, will provide excellent return on investment, big time.

[Over the past years I have helped many companies create architecture plans for products and services. I’ll be happy to help you create yours. Contact me today!]

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