IDesign




Project Design Master Class

Virtual Architect

Starting a project with a solid architecture is critical to its success. But throughout an initiative’s lifecycle, new requirements emerge and the details of the design need to evolve, often forcing additional rounds of critical decision making. These details in turn enable accurate estimation of the cost and schedule of the project, enable the project manager to discern the critical path of activities, properly allocate and manage resources, and prioritize how to implement the architecture and the plan itself. For a development organization to truly thrive, it is equally important that the initial success must translate directly into repeatable, sustainable delivery. This in turn is predicated on staying consistently on the design and properly leveraging the underlying technology.

If you have a full-time, highly-skilled system architect on your staff, addressing these concerns should be one of his or her primary responsibilities. However, many organizations do not have the appropriate person or skills to address all of the scenarios that arise. Other companies may wish to validate their critical design, technology and process decisions.

To meet these challenges, IDesign offers its world-class Virtual Architect service. The service starts by assigning one of our seasoned architects to your project, to augment your existing staff and expedite successful delivery of your projects. Our architect will work part or full time on your solution, mostly remote, becoming intimately familiar with the requirements and architecture. This enables the IDesign Virtual Architect to help you modify or supplement your architecture, and guides you through on-going detailed design decisions. The Virtual Architect is often instrumental in the project plan design and implementation choices. We customize a Virtual Architect engagement to fit your specific needs by applying an array of options:

Interim Chief Architect

Accelerate the mentorship of your new architecture team and deliver important process, visibility, and strategic support to Engineering Management, QA, and Executives staff. The seasoned IDesign architect will mentor and guide your architects on the job. This kind of dedicated continuous access to a world-class architect is literally only possible through an embedded, longer term intimate engagement. At the end of this journey, your organization will possess a mature, modern software architecture practice that will directly support repeatable, sustainable delivery. This aspect of our service is often coupled with a Team Pilot and one or more Master Classes and begins with an initial week onsite to jumpstart the initiative, then transitions to remote interaction with a clearly defined operating model.

Design Review

Perform a comprehensive design review of the current state of your architecture and obtain an expert’s opinion and guidance on the many smaller-grained design decisions that you will have to make throughout your project’s lifecycle. A current-state design review is an essential first step toward formalizing a clear strategy forward. We can also expand the initial design review to include reviews of important process and technology usage.

Project Design

Ensure the success of your next project with our project design and a plan tailored to your specific needs. The IDesign architect will help you to iteratively design and validate your project plan, and assist with estimating the overall cost and duration of the project. The development plan is predicated on already having in place a well-factored system architecture and the decomposition to the various services. The Virtual Architect will start by adding non-coding activities such as UX design and system testing and then proceeding to produce the dependency tree of the activities and the integration plan. This is followed by estimating the per-activity effort, enabling you to identify the critical path and the amount of resources you would need at any given point in the project. From the critical path analysis, your priorities, and your constraints, the architect will evaluate the "shape" of the project plan, and how realistic it is. Often, this critical path analysis and resource allocation is done several times over, to present and contrast the various cost and schedule options, while incorporating your actual constrains. Once you have selected the desired project plan, the Virtual Architect may also revise the architecture to accommodate the development plan, predominantly to further reduce risk and address insight regarding the team and the feasibility of the plan.

Team Pilot

Guide a team from initial design and planning through production delivery, doing everything “the right way”, fully leveraging IDesign’s expertise across process, design and technology. Throughout the experience, you have the opportunity to refine and customize IDesign’s recommendations to your specific needs, and use the deliverables, process and practices both to demonstrate the benefits and advantages of the new approach and as a template for other teams. Pilot participants then become ‘agents of positive change’ (aka ‘A’ players) in other teams, evangelizing and promoting best practices and establishing a vibrant culture of quality and successful delivery. Often coupled with the Interim Chief Architect, a Team Pilot produces both a production-ready sub-system and a mature repeatable architectural practice.

Detailed Design

Expedite the time consuming and labor intensive steps that follow the validation of your architecture. Organizations new to the IDesign Method often struggle with the question, ‘What comes after the design is done?’ You must manage and execute all-important activities, such as service and data contract factoring and the design handoff point, to stick with the project schedule and ensure the design remains intact through construction. The IDesign Virtual Architect will guide, mentor and lead that aspect of your effort, ensuring they are done correctly, literally getting the initiative off the ground. This effort often follows IDesign Architecture Consulting, and should be combined with proper project development plan design.

Design Evolution

Design for emerging requirements, evolving architectural needs and technological paradigm shifts by readdressing, redesigning, or adding entirely new parts to your architecture. The result is a system architecture that is designed to absorb and contain changes and minimize their impact, rather than maximizing their impact and having the system resonate with the change. This effort is often coupled with a current state design review.

Quality Assurance Mentoring

Engage in true quality assurance (QA), not mere quality control (testing). Many organizations incorrectly name their quality control effort QA, while the two are different and compliment each other. Quality control is responsible for testing the product against the requirements. Quality control is a defined process that closes the loop, making sure that the requirements survived the architecture, design, and implementation phases. The presence of a true QA person is almost always an indication of a commitment to quality and is a sign of organizational maturity as well as one of the best practices that is seldom in place. A dedicated QA person or team acts as the "process cop" for your organization, constantly auditing the development processes and tuning them all with the objective of assuring quality. QA is responsible for designing the process and authoring SOPs (standard operating procedures) for every key phase of development. QA must always search for the root cause of defects and then apply the CAPA (corrective action/preventive action) methodology to address them. The IDesign Virtual Architect is at heart a QA vigilante that will assist you in developing or even boot-strapping your QA practice by training and mentoring a proper QA team. The architect will teach and provide guidance on how to manage root cause analysis, how to set up effective processes, how to prevent defects by proactively tackling complexity head-on, how to assimilate development and design standards, which metrics to collect and what to learn from them about your process and the effectiveness of your quality control activities. The Virtual Architect will understand which quality assurance best practices work best for your organization and how to applying them over time, without disrupting your short-term commitments.

 

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