Tackle a major technology project with solutions architecture

Rae Heitkamp
March 16, 2020

Are you responsible for a large and multi-faceted technology project, and wondering where to start? Fjorge has a team of Solutions Architects on staff to help you make informed decisions and create an optimized development plan that will ensure that your project meets or exceeds your expectations.

Characteristics of a Complex Technology Project

Complex technology projects have only one thing in common: they’re unique. However, there are some other frequent characteristics that, when present in a project, add to its complexity. If your new product has any of the following characteristics:

  • Variety of business and technical stakeholders
  • Functionality that isn’t available in off-the-shelf solutions
  • Multiple types of users with different needs
  • Interacts with existing custom software
  • Integrates with third party systems

…you are probably planning a complex technology project.

The more complicated a product vision is, the more important planning becomes. The plan must consider how the product can meet all stakeholders’ business goals as well as your users’ expectations. Planners will also have to decide how your software will interact with the rest of your digital ecosystem.

That’s where Solutions Architecture comes in. As a Solutions Architect, that’s my team’s area of expertise at Fjorge.

Fjorge’s Solutions Architecture Process

During Solutions Architecture, you will work with a Solutions Architect. During project planning and execution, this team member will be the bridge between your subject-matter expertise in your specific business domain and our development team’s technical expertise. Often, a Solutions Architect’s work consists of helping convert business needs into technical requirements for our development team. Other times, we help to to translate technical constraints on the project — say, from your IT team or other technical stakeholders — into business language, so that you can make informed decisions about the product we’re planning and building together.

Solutions Architecture starts with in-depth interviews where I meet with you and others at your organization. Then, we all get to work talking about the vision for the product. We’ll meet regularly to review the business priorities for the application, identify users, and describe what those users want to accomplish using your app.

Afterwards, I’ll do some additional research to see what technologies already exist that can save on development time and project budget. I’ll also work with a developer to write the steps our development team will follow to build your new application.

Finally, I convert everything we’ve learned together into a detailed and executable development plan. This document describes exactly what needs to be done to build a digital product that’s faithful to your vision.

Solutions Architecture vs. Requirements Documentation

You might be wondering, “Why do I need Solutions Architecture? I already wrote a 20 page RFP!” At Fjorge, we’ve found that a list of requirements is not all that you need to complete a successful technology project. To produce your dream website or app, the whole team needs to understand your vision. You, your team, and our team must be on the same page. During Solutions Architecture, we align on that shared vision through regular conversations, clearly identified solutions, and project milestones.

Video: Solutions Architecture for Your Complex Technology Project

Transcript

Rae: Solutions Architecture gets you from business requirements to technical requirements. There’s a lot that we do along the way, but that’s the gist of it. We’re talking in a language that you and your clients understand, and we’re making sure that we’re conveying to the development team what they need to do to accomplish these things.

I’m Rae, and I’m a Solutions Architect at fjorge. I know it’s going to sound like somebody wrote this for me, but really, my favorite thing about my job is getting to meet clients who are really excited about a project that they’re bringing in for us to build.

Solutions Architecture

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