Architecture is an art form

Written by Mark Van Driel
On April 13, 2023

So, you’re building a digital product. The business goals are well defined, the user or customer needs have been established, and the concept has been reviewed with enthusiastic support. It’s now time to determine the technical architecture for this product, but the options are complex and endless. You have your favorite patterns, but do they apply to this digital product? Where do you go from here? 

Questions to consider when determining the architecture for your digital product

Will the chosen technology allow you to achieve the business goals?

Consider the fiancial vaiability of the technology and how it will support additional innovation over the life of the digital product. Will your new digital product integrate well with existing enterprise capabilities? Does the architecture rely on technology that has transactional fees? How will that cost increase as your business grows?

Does the selected technology support the needs of the users or customers?

Define an architecture that can support the ever changing needs of users and customers.  Will the technology deliver the desired velocity for the new feature updates? Have you considered tools or configurations that allow the business to modify their own workflows instead of relying on IT? 

Can the technical architecture work with existing enterprise capabilities?

Determine how the new digital product will leverage existing technical platforms to drive value for the enterprise. Can you leverage existing enterprise services to deliver capability and reduce redundancy? What ways can you leverage other existing capabilities to drive a seamless business solution?  

How will the technology be supported over the life of the product?

Identify who will be responsible for the long-term expansion and support of your digital product. Will your information technology team be able to support this product, or will you need to find a managed service provider to maintain the digital product? Is your business capable of supporting such a relationship and is it financially feasible over the life of the digital product?

Ramp it up before you build

After the technical architecture has been selected, it’s time to prepare for software development. Too many times organizations skip this step, failing to take the time needed to prepare the platform and processes for software development. Items such as design systems, new technology stacks, designs, and backlogs should be in place before the remainder of the engineering team is onboarded. Taking the time to fully prepare before the team lands will reduce time and foster increased velocity. 

Determining the right architecture for a digital product requires the careful consideration of many variables. Failure to architect for all of these nuances will most often have adverse downstream consequences for the product. In many ways the architect is like a painter, carefully adding in the layers of paint onto the canvas to create a masterpiece that supports long-term value for the business. Architects, good luck on your next Picasso!