Architecture Visualizations

What is a visualization?

A visualization is graphic representation of a model or a view of a model. A view is a representation of a model given a viewpoint. A viewpoint is a set of concerns of a (type of) stakeholder. A model is a set of related entities.

A business model is therefore actually not a visualization.

Types of Visualization

Dragon1 Defines different type of visualizations

  • Sketches
  • Diagrams
  • Blueprints
  • Landscapes
  • Artist Impressions
  • Heat maps
  • Roadmaps

In architecture, the architect creates formal and informal visualizations, sometimes of the same subject. This in order to increase the involvement of stakeholders. Looking at a formal BPMN process model or UML Use Case diagram does not trigger a business manager to take action. But an artist impression or design sketch or the problem caused by the current process configuration or systems use case, might just be the trigger for the business manager to take action.

The objectives with visualizations

As an architect is a designer of total concepts and supervisor of the realization of enterprise wide integral business IT systems, everything he draws are views of a design, requirements, vision, problems, plans. These visualizations are meant to inform, to support decision making, to structure thoughts or to startup thinking and creating common view and understanding. So if you create a visualization that does one of these, the visualization is a success.

The Difference between a Visualization and an Architecture Visualization

Not all visualizations you create as architect are architecture visualizations. A visualization is only an architecture if it shows its concepts and or its principles and key elements. It could be that the theoretical concept is shown or the applied concepts as a solution is shown, or that a failing or working principle is shown. In all these cases we call this an architecture visualization. It could be that the visualization is at conceptual, logical, physical or implementational level.

Dragon1 Architecture Canvas (Architecture View Layout)

Dragon1 promotes architecture visualizations to be create using a context containing strategy and transformation, and with that making a visualization more fit to use for decision support.

The Dragon1 Architecture Canvas has a predefined layout, formerly known as the Architecture View Layout.

Visualization per Process

Dragon1 has defined architecture working processes and per process what types of pictures should or could be created (MOSCOW). Below we have listed the most important ones.

  • Line of Sight picture
  • Strategy Map
  • Business Model
  • Business Case
  • Concept Design Sketch
  • Principles Details Diagram
  • Process Landscape
  • Application Landscape
  • IT Landscape
  • Architecture Vision Poster (Big Picture)
  • Structure Vision Poster
  • Operating Model Diagram
  • Business Blueprint
  • Enterprise Blueprint
  • Architecture Working Processes Poster (maturity level)
  • Concept Design Sketch
  • Technology Roadmap

Visualizations per Product

Dragon1 defines architecture products, strategy products and transformation products.

The Architecture Design Book, the Architecture Glossary Document, the Architecture Principles Document and the Solution Architecture Presentation (PXA) are the most import products in Dragon1. These documents contain various visualizations.