Appendix C – Some Systems Modeling Good Practices

  • Good practice 1: an architectural model shall be done to solve a specific problem.
  • Good practice 2: modeling activities shall be fully part of any system design project and this from the very beginning of the project
  • Good practice 3: be clear about the advantages provided by modeling and adopt a simplicity principle coupled with a permanent methodological doubt (why do we need that? what is it for?)
  • Good practice 4: the natural evolution of a system makes very difficult to define its « true » operational reality: never hesitate therefore to use all the methods and tools which seem adapted to settle all operational uncertainties
  • Good practice 5: it is necessary to integrate all technical and human dimensions of the system to be built, and this from the very beginning of the project
  • Good practice 6: the more a system modeling is done in an iterative way – based on a permanent questioning between the stakeholders and the systems architect – the more it will be effective
  • Good practice 7: “black-box” modeling, without any feedback from the customer, must be banished: stakeholders must be involved in the architectural process
  • Good practice 8: the validation of an architectural model is a permanent process which must create trust in the model, from the points of view of both the architect and the domain engineers & customers who will verify & validate it
  • Good practice 9: the achievement, as soon as possible, of a “simple, but not simplistic”, preliminary model which “works” is fundamental in order to make the architectural approach credible by the stakeholders: details can typically be added later if necessary (a coarse-grained model can turn out to be sufficient)
  • Good practice 10: a complete & coarse-grained coherent model is more important than an accumulation of details, which are often not relevant to the project objectives
  • Good practice 11: systems architect expertise is primary: one must avoid beginners who knowonly how to use modeling tools (which is very different from architecting)
  • Good practice 12: the developed architectural models shall be considered as assets of the organization and managed coherently, in configuration & traceability and in space & time, by the organization in charge of the system design.

Table 14 – Some good systems modeling practices1Adapted from a personal communication of Professor Jacques Printz.