Chapter 7. Initial Product Architecture

image with no caption

In preceding chapters, we’ve argued against big upfront planning and design efforts, using bridge-building as a counterexample. So you might find it puzzling that we’re now presenting you with a chapter titled "Initial Product Architecture.” What is architecture, after all, but a large upfront design effort aimed at solving all of the design problems before construction begins?

UX and software professionals have needed to rely on analogies to other fields to convey an understanding of their fields. Software development is often compared to major design and engineering undertakings like building architecture and bridge design because the comparison is actually apt in a number of ways. The problem with the comparison isn’t that it’s completely incorrect; the problem is that it isn’t completely correct, but people nevertheless swallow the analogy whole. The ways that the field of software development differs are subtle yet fundamental, but the differences are too often overlooked when considering the similarities.

So the practice of calling these stages “architecture” and calling the professionals involved “architects” descends from the similarities, and you just need to keep the differences in mind. It’s also a practice that has been in place for a while and predates EffectiveUI, so we’re inclined to defer to tradition.

Through the business planning ...

Get Effective UI now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.