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The Power of Review: Ensuring Effective Architecture in a Shifting Landscape

As per a recent study one of common feature that help most successful EA teams is seamless review that helped them overcome multiple challenges such as governance, transparency, collaborative design, adherence to industry standards, and powerful analysis by brainstorming. Review is one of the most important use cases of Prolaborate as this focuses on feedback and review through engagement. Here we engage the right set of audience with the right set of access.

Why review is so important?

In this article let us further elaborate on the importance of setting up a review process. How EA teams can improve the model maturity with review.

1. Establish Governance

By setting up a review process architects can establish a governance process by specifying who has to review, who has to approve a certain business process, the time frame for the same basis of the feedback received.

2. Structured Feedback

Prolaborate helps in achieving a structured review process which results in better outcome and higher stakeholder satisfaction. This structure is achieved when there is a systematic flow of events such as reviewer adds comment and tags a person who is responsible to address the feedback. This triggers a change which is then implemented back to the source.

3. Elimination of consolidation process

When there is no provision for internal reviews, the architectural teams receive feedbacks from external sources which needs to be incorporated eventually. This can be simplified by enabling the stakeholders to review the architectural changes within the tool.

Since everyone interacts with the live data and all the comments are added to real architectural artifacts, hence eliminate the consolidation process.

4. Traceability of Reasoning

Post review, a change is implemented by understanding the reason behind a specific approach. This acts as knowledge management for the architectural artifacts.

Do you wonder how review makes life easy

If you are unaware how this can bring value in real time, let us assume a CMO of an organization would like to review product launch strategies and processes involved with multiple teams.

He needs to bring in all stakeholders to have a transparent and smooth process. In this case the CMO requires alignment with all the teams mentioned below for a specific reason

  1. Marketing Team: Take care of launch, promotions and other marketing efforts.
  2. Product Team: Take care of Launch Timeline, Required Resources, Features to Announce and others.
  3. Sales and Customer Support Team: Take care of Pricing, Informed about the changes and additions.

As a CMO you can invite these stakeholder groups and add the process to review.

Each member of the teams gets notified about the review. Each user can update the process details, add some modification to process, bring in new innovative ideas to simplify process etc. As a CMO, you use the moderator dashboard to review the various discussions which are high or medium priority.

Once the feedback is added, details stay in one place, The user can then close the discussions and get an approval from all the teams and execute the process.

Continue reading to understand how you can implement this at work.

Implement review for your architectural practise

Initiate a review and invite stakeholders

On the landing page of the review section one can see the all the active reviews (image caption)

The process of creating a review is a simple 3 step process.

  1. Select the content to be reviewed.
  2. Choose the respective stakeholders that are relevant to the content in consideration.
  3. Define the roles of stakeholder as a reviewer, approver, moderator and invite them.

Let us understand briefly about these roles.

Reviewer: A reviewer is an individual contributor or a group who is assigned to review contents added a review, based on their role and involvement in developing that content or association with that topic.

Approver: An approver is an individual contributor or a group who reviews the reviewed content and gives a go ahead or a thumbs down along with his feedback.

Moderator: A moderator’s role is to basically make sure that the reviewing process is carried out timely and efficiently.

Each of the above role can be assigned to multiple users or groups.

Please refer to the link for a guided process.

Bring in internal and external participants for collaboration and more ideas.

One can invite different types of users for a review. They can be internal as well as external. An internal reviewer who has the access to the repository can be invited and his review can be approved by the approver who has access to the repository also needs an invite.

Similarly, an internal user, who has no access to the repository can be invite by granting access to review specific content.

An external reviewer or an approver Can receive an invitation too by giving an access to review specific content.

A moderator’s role is to make sure that the reviewer and approver are doing their job timely and efficiently.

Get a holistic view of review

There is a specific dashboard assigned to every role. When any user clicks on the title of a review on the landing review page, it will open the page which is specific to the user’s role in the review.

For a moderator who has created review, it is essential for him to get a ‘Holistic View’! The Moderator Dashboard is a handy functionality for moderators to get such a view.

On click of a review title, the moderator dashboard opens. It will then display the status, start and end date, summary and statistics.

The statistical view will show the current status of different processes involved like:

  • Status of review discussions: This gives a clear number of the discussions that are closed and the ones that are in progress or which are still under discussion.
  • Priority of discussions: This will help one decide which discussions need to be picked on priority especially if there are any time constraints.
  • Approval completion status: This reflects the number of Approvers invited for the review and their status of completion i.e., Completed or In Progress.
  • Review completion status: This is similar to the Approval completion status and reflects the no. of Reviewers invited for the review and their status of completion.

The moderator dashboard gives a good visual understanding of the overall status of the review process.

Other handy tools which are useful in review process

Participant Specific Dashboard

Apart from moderator the other two prominent roles in a review is Reviewer and Approver.

Using the reviewer dashboard, a Reviewer views the summary and the notifications. The summary will show the status of all the reviews and discussions.

The reviewer dashboard will also give a statistical view of the review status and allows the reviewer to make changes to the status of the review.

The Approver dashboard is similar to the Reviewer dashboard. They can see list of processes diagrams, views and artifacts included in the review. Summary window below shows a detailed measure about discussions.

As the title suggests, this window sums up the entire efforts of the approver. One quick glance will help the reader get a holistic view of the status of the approvals. Status includes approved, rejected and yet to approve / reject, also open / closed discussions are reflected. And the approver can see the discussions that are assigned to him only.

User can add review or approval comment and also approve or reject review content.

Discussion Windows

View all discussion on a diagram and reviews using discussion windows. The discussion window has various filters to get specific results.

Please follow the below for further guidance How to start a discussion?

Prolaborate Add-in for EA

The Prolaborate Add-in for Sparx Enterprise Architect is designed to address the communication gap between modelers or subject matter experts and business users who are the stakeholders. It is a valuable tool that enables designers to view feedback shared by stakeholders within the app.

The discussions that are added part of review can be viewed with in Prolaborate using this Add-in.

More details are found in the below links

  1. Review Enterprise Architect Models
  2. Streamline Communication and Collaboration with Prolaborate Add-in for Enterprise Architect

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