Producing High-Quality Solution Architecture


Following solution architecture may seem too intensive and time-consuming in the beginning, but the rewards of adhering to solution architecture are unlimited, which can be realized during all phases of software lifecycle as well after the post-deployment period. Solution architecture helps in incorporating industry standards in the project’s lifecycle, which can save valuable resources that may have been consumed without its use.

For example, there is a project in which a social media platform requires to be developed. Now, the IT team may choose a certain language named as A due to its ease of use and cheaper developers. The application may function well in the beginning, but as the number of profiles on the network increase, performance can be affected.

Likewise, the application also may be attacked by a DDoS attack or brute force attack where multiple security vulnerabilities can be identified.  Solution architecture can help to illustrate and understand that a language like Java can be better for scalability and security purposes, especially if the application is like a social media platform where the number of users is expected to increase with time.

A solution architecture can be seen as the blueprint of a project that can address all the considerations and requirements of the project before a line of code can be written. As a result, the IT team can streamline effectively in the production of the best possible solutions. In order to follow the best tips and practices to design a high-quality solution architecture, have a look at the following details:

Dedicated Resources for Non-Functional Requirements

Non-Functional Requirements in solution architecture involve a methodological approach for improving the “quality” in a system. Quality can refer to security, performance, accuracy, and other attributes— depending upon the project.

Sometimes non-functional requirements are not treated with the same level of attention and detail as the functional requirements. This may be practical for designing a basic web page –– making use of WordPress or JavaScripting your way out –– but projects of higher scale demand a solution architect to view non-functional requirements with better attentiveness and commitment.

Due to the lack of focus on NFRs, their technical documentation is not up to the required industry standards. Subsequently, the development team can wrongly misinterpret the Software Requirement Specification document. As a result, the project begins with the wrong step, and passing other stages of the project lifecycle may result in an irrecoverable loss— either through client dissatisfaction or through an application’s crash.

Hence, as a solution architect, you will have to ensure that the activities of NFRs –– communicating and collecting details from a client to the documentation process –– are performed adequately. As a rule of thumb, follow the software quality characters from ISO9126: functionality, reliability, usability, efficiency, maintainability, and portability.

Prototyping

In most cases, an initial design can be built where the prototype can provide a peek into the operations of the application. You have to ensure that the fundamentals of the application are followed.

For instance, a client asked for a business website that sells sports equipment. Now, one of the fundamental functionality of the project includes the customer order module. This should work in the prototype rather than giving importance to components of lower priority like a feedback form or a contact page. Another object of a prototype is the selection of the right tools. This includes:

  • Deciding if a database like Oracle can be needed for the storage of data.
  • Working with multitiered applications for isolating functional requirements for working on the client tier, middle tier, and the data tier in the Spring ecosystem.

All the tools required for a project’s component can be documented with information about their versions, type of APIs, and other relevant information so that everyone in the team can have a clear perspective about the project’s toolset.

Maintainability – Making Post-Deployment Modifications Easier

You would be surprised that how commonly developers ignore the maintainability factor. Sometimes when a project starts, the application is designed and developed with timing as the driving factor behind all the hassle. After the project is successfully implemented, testing follows to match client specifications; subsequently, the project is deployed into the client’s systems.

However, later the client calls in to add a newer functionality. This functionality may be too simple, but due to the earlier negligence of the maintainability factor, it can lead on to become a major headache for software engineers. Therefore, all the efforts to save time lead to a bigger consumption of resources, where facing the client criticism furthers lowers the morale of the entire team.

Businesses prefer solutions that could be maintained easily by either the in-house IT team or a third-party provider –– other than the software provider. Hence, maintainability is mandatory for solution architecture where it can be adhered to in the software practices, patterns, and designs. Maintainability can also be incorporated through specific tools that can restrict a developer in the submission of an unmaintainable piece of code.  A solution architect has to ensure that the maintainability standards are documented and confirmed by the team.

Collaboration

Suppose you handle a project where you:

  • Compile a list of non-functional requirements.
  • Highlight the key features for a prototype.
  • Mention the use of maintainable code through a specific tool.

But what if your team does not follow it or is not experienced enough to understand it?

An application can be as good as its developers. Documenting and formulating guidelines for a solution is one thing; having them followed by the developers is another. The input of the software development team is necessary. They have to be involved in the planning and analysis of both functional and non-functional requirements. Likewise, the decision to use a new tool can also be agreed upon through coordination.

If a developer is inexperienced with writing maintainable code, then training and workshops can be arranged for the promotion and adoption of the best architectural tools, practices, and patterns.

Likewise, confidence is the key. You should know the strength and weaknesses of each member so that you know where they should be trusted with complete faith for the design and development of any module of the application.

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