9 years, 21 days ago

Using System Architect to Scare Sales People

I’m working with the CEO of an internet company, helping him build an architecture for a new line of business. He’s gotten real value from System Architect in a number of areas. First, his developers, who are in India, have reduced their code cycle by at least half because the design of the software is documented in System Architect and they understand exactly what is needed (the design is done in UML). Second, he mapped out his strategy for integrating off the shelf software for his new project using the System Architecture diagram which has helped vendors understand his requirements. Third, he has mapped out the business functionality and processes for his new line of business using IDEF0 and BPMN so that he can better plan the start up and understand what needs to be in place when.

And yesterday he came up with a new use for his architecture.

He’s been working with software vendors to figure out how their software will integrate with other vendor software he’s using. Unfortunately, in the past he’s had to meet with sales people before he could get a meeting with the engineers to get answers to his technical questions. That’s a waste of his time. He also had a hard time getting some vendors to take him seriously because he’s a small company.

But he noticed in a meeting last week that as soon as he pulled out an IDEF0 diagram the sales guy was like “um, let me get an engineer to help you”. So he asked me to come up with another diagram that would “scare the sales people away” but allow him to communicate the technical aspects of his design to the engineers.

We decided to use a UML sequence diagram and he said his meeting this morning with the engineers of a vendor he’s working with was very successful. The engineers were able to confirm that his design was feasible using just out of the box features of their software. I also showed him how to generate a web site using the out of the box HTML generator in System Architect. He said it makes his company look “more impressive” and that the vendors he was meeting with liked how easy it was to navigate and understand his design. For example, if they don’t understand what a message flow name means they can easily look up the definition. We also included actual examples of data as well as timing requirements in the definitions.

Two good reasons to do EA in System Architect – to intimidate and impress people.