What makes EA artefacts useful? Six criteria to evaluate your artefacts

We seem to be in a new age of EA literature, with a growing number of books that really get into the detail of how one can architect.

One example is Marc Gewertz and his book Defining Enterprise.

Marc wrote a recent LinkedIn post about the need for architects to make their design explicit through good artefacts.

But what makes a good, useful, practical artefact?

Here are some ideas that can be used as criteria to help make your artefacts more useful.

6 criteria to evaluate your artefacts

  • Artefacts should be consistent with the architecture – sounds obvious, but I’ve come across many in my time that weren’t.
  • Artefacts should be as complete as possible – they need to describe everything that needs to be included. When things are left out, artefacts don’t make as much sense.
  • Artefacts should be well documented – they need to use appropriate diagramming techniques, supported by notes that help a user understand and interpret them correctly. Presentation of information is one of the eight fundamental facts in EA.
  • Artefacts should be easy to reuse – it is sometimes necessary to break a large artefact down into smaller elements or to produce a more generalised version with a range or sub-types that can be reused in different contexts.
  • Artefacts should be easy to extend or modify – this allows them to evolve as circumstances change, or as new information or ideas come to light.
  • Artefacts should match the views and viewpoints of relevant stakeholders – it may be necessary to have several artefacts covering the same information, but presented in different ways to meet the needs of different stakeholders.

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