An architecture only helps if it is also known to the developers. This is why the architecture needs to be documented appropriately. In the simplest case, documentation in smaller agile projects can be done on a whiteboard. For larger and more complex systems, we also have extensions for modeling tools that are matched precisely to our method and which provide appropriate modeling support.
With a suitable architecture, unnecessary and expensive wrong developments can be avoided. To prevent these in the first place, we at Fraunhofer IESE always define the central drivers of an architecture first. These may include quality requirements such as the wish to be able to derive different products from one central architecture. In addition, we offer support through documentation guidelines and templates. In this context, architecture decisions and their systematic elaboration and documentation play a role, as do suitable architecture views that summarize, package, and present information for certain stakeholder roles. For embedded systems, views that comply with the SPES-XT meta-model are also used, whereas the views of ACES-ADF are used for information systems. Nevertheless, architecture definition and documentation must never become an end in itself. They must serve to facilitate further development, be intertwined with such development, and ultimately also be reflected directly in the source code.
Fraunhofer ACES offers a method for the definition and documentation of architecture. With the help of scalable models, even large and complex systems can be mastered. In order to validate the design early on, we integrate simulations and/or rely on prototypes to test concepts, if necessary.