The arena of application development is highly competitive. But do you think a group of expert developers is all that you need to stay ahead in the race?
– The code is the truth, but it is not the whole truth –
An organization should also satisfy its business goals to be successful. Developers know their way around programming languages and coding. We cannot expect them to be well versed in the language of business as well.
The good news is that we can design and implement software architectures to help us achieve these business goals. This article will shed more light on how software architecture can impact product development; to know more read on.
What is Software Architecture?
Just like the architecture of a building, software development also requires a lot of planning and decision-making before the development takes place. Software development is also highly adaptable and goes through a lot of transition over time. So, not all decisions and plans are up-front or pre-defined.
However, some major early decisions matter in all the stages of product development and maintenance; these decisions are:
- Structural and operational requirements
- Cost, effort and duration of the development
- The business goals of the organization
- The demands of stakeholders
- The qualities and attributes of the products
A software architecture comprises these decisions, software design structures, software elements, the arrangements and properties of those elements, and defines the relationship of those elements with each other. These structures and components play a significant role in the quality, longevity, and usefulness of the development system.
Why Software Architecture is Important?
All software systems have an architecture. Even if it consists of a single structure and element, there is architecture. This architecture may not have formal design and documentation.
So, why do we need software architecture? Can’t we just jump right in and start coding?
Well, that is how it works now. Software projects vary in terms of the amount of effort, time, focus, and documentation required in successful development and in the eventual maintenance. The greater the size and complexity of a software system, the more you will need a well-thought-out architectural plan to succeed.
“Architecture is about important stuff. Whatever that is.” – Ralph Johnson
Software architecture lays the foundation for product development. And the foundation defines the quality of what we build on top of it. All the early decisions made in the architecture can also affect the decisions that will come after them. When executed in the right way, the software architecture can provide several benefits to the organization; see they are:
Meeting the Requirements
A software architecture comprises information from various stakeholders such as domain experts, business analysts, product owners, and end-users. This information helps you identify and meet different functional, non-functional, technical, and operational requirements. A successful requirements management can help you eliminate many project defects.
Software architecture can be designed to focus on specific quality attributes of a system such as performance, features, security, and interoperability. Generally, these quality attributes do not always stay in accordance with one another.
A software architecture establishes an agreed-upon and validated quality requirements and standards for the products. It also lets you predict a software system’s qualities and avoid costly rework.
Facilitating Communication among Stakeholders
Software architecture and its documentation are simple and comprehensive enough that any stakeholders can reason about the software system. It lets you communicate and explain the software system to others. It can be a basis for discussions and negotiations regarding various aspects of a project such as cost, quality and duration.
There can be many changes in a software system such as new requirements, market changes, changes to business processes, bug fixes, technology advances, and many more; especially in the modern agile development process change is the only constant. Good software architecture can help the team anticipate and adapt to these changes without necessarily having to make architectural changes.
Providing a Reusable Model
The code and early decisions that shaped the architecture are reusable for projects that have similar requirements and structures. Not only does this save us a lot of time and effort, but this tested and proven architecture also ensures and increases the quality of products.
Estimating Cost and Effort
The design of the software architecture itself affects the kind of tasks necessary for the implementation. In this way, the project managers can break down the work as individual tasks based on the nature and size of the project.
The project managers break down final deliverables and goals into smaller packages of work. And the developers initially start with specific tasks and then group them into packages of work. By reducing these complexities, we can achieve more accurate cost and effort estimates.
Training the Team
The software architecture and its documentation are a great training manual for the developers in a team. They can learn various structures and elements of the system, see how they are supposed to interact and how to implement the operations successfully.
If coding is the cornerstone of product development, software architecture is the foundation. It’s the blueprint that shapes the development system. Be it computer application development or mobile app development; software architecture holds a great deal of importance in the success of an organization.