When you start your first architecture design project, it will likely be very organic and unstructured and will focus on physical technology, where you will “add tech, for the sake of coolness”. In the back of your mind, you will have some requirements, but you will not use them to measure success (ie. were my business requirements met and is my design the simplest it can be?). Your supporting documentation will probably be non-existent and you will be lucky to have an implementation plan. This certainly was true for me when I began my VCDX journey.
So how do you make the leap to “VCDX-level” Architecture Design? Through hard work and a lot of pain and suffering! However, there are some things you can do to make the transformation easier:
- Use a blank document, stay away from templates and boiler-plates.
- Keep the document fonts and formatting as simple and elegant as possible, it must be easy to read and consume.
- Use diagrams that are easy to understand and communicate your message clearly.
- Maintain structure and unique numbering from day 1 – I had to completely rewrite my first VCDX submission by starting with the Conceptual Model and then the Logical Design and finally the Physical Design. Do not put the “cart before the horse”.
- Give yourself time to build the supporting documentation, it takes a substantial amount of time to do it properly.
- Cross reference everything to provide a “Reference Matrix” or “Solution Metrics” matrix, as explained in this podcast.
- Find a mentor – they can guide you to make sure you stick to the right path.
- Peer Reviews – another set of eyes and another perspective will provide invaluable feedback.
- Study Group – work with like-minded experts to cross-pollinate and T-Skill.
One thing is for sure, once you swallow the red pill, you cannot “un-see” the Matrix. Once you “become VCDX”, every design that crosses your desk will be held to a higher standard and, unfortunately, it will mean that most will be returned to the originator for improvement.