Solution Context Diagram
Visualize how your solution relates to your organization.
The Solution Context Diagram aims to provide a high-level view of the organizational units, business roles, and user groups interacting with the solution. Visualizing these relationships clarifies how the solution connects to various areas, aiding in architectural planning. This information helps stakeholders estimate the project’s scope.
Visualize cooperate business units and existing solutions related to the solution.
Enterprise Architect, IT, Business
Before You Start
- Align requirements with your company’s strategy
- Understand your company’s strategic direction and prioritize requirements.
- Align with corporate Strategy
- Understand your key stakeholders
- Find out what internal barriers, external risks, and business challenges are hindering them from achieving their business goals.
- Involve Your Key Stakeholders
Materials You Will Need
Templates for Download
Define capabilities of your solution
In a first step, summarize the business capabilities of your solution. This will be the central part of the Solution Context Diagram and will help to put the corporate business units into relation.
This list of capabilities doesn’t need to be long. Keep your capability descriptions short but make sure to include all capabilities and don’t skip the ones you think are not relevant enough.
For example, this could be
- Requesting project budget
- Get status of budget request
A good starting point for deriving the required capabilities of your solution is an understanding of the business challenge. From there, start thinking about the functions which address this challenge. Try to formulate the capabilities into bullet points and summarize it with about 5 (max. 10) main capabilities. Note the identified capabilities in the central box in the Solution Context Diagram template.
As this diagram mainly addressses business people please remember to focus on the business, not on technical- or implementation details.
Identify user groups and organizational units
In this step you identify user groups and roles that are using the solution. Look at the defined business capabilities from step 1 and identify the organizational units/user groups with their business roles/users.
The goal of this step is to identify the organizational units, business roles and user groups related to your solution.
Create one box for each user group and add the different roles into the box.
A user group could be “Reviewer” with the roles “Business Analyst” and “Accounting”.
To indicate that the user groups are using the solution, add arrows between them.
All of your identified users should appear in the stakeholder matrix, if this is not the case, revise your stakeholder matrix and add missing users.
Identify existing business solutions/systems
The goal of this step is to identify existing business solutions and systems that are involved.
Look at the defined business capabilities from step 1 and user groups and organizational units from step 2 and identify the business solutions/systems that likely are involved.
Create one box for every business solution/system and add the relevant business applications to it.
A business solution could be “Corporate Policies” with the business application “Capital Approval Policies” which could be an application or even a physical book.
Add arrows between the existing business solutions/systems and your solution or the user groups you identified in step 2 to indicate “Request-Response” dependencies and which user group is using which solution.
Also consider tools like Excel or even paper-based documentation that are used today because of the lack of an integrated solution. This will help you in the further project to receive a full picture.
Formally, a business application doesn’t have to be an application or tool but could also be a person who is not directly using the solution but provides information for your business case or is involved in the process.
Verify your Solution Context Diagram
Informing your stakeholders (e.g. project managers or other architects) and verifying the Solution Context Diagram is very important to ensure the assumptions made during the creation of your Solution Context Diagram are correct.
If you created a stakeholder matrix and communication plan consult it to check how this verification should be done (e.g. by email or as part of regular stakeholder meetings).
After creating the Use Case Blueprint Diagram in one of the later steps, update this Solution Context Diagram with the newest information
You are done!
Make sure to use the Solution Context Diagram when talking about the broad scope of your solution in every phase of your project.
Follow the next methods in the Recommended Pathto continue setting up your innovation project.