Rapid Software Architecture Exploration Workshop

Effective design is fast design. Inspired by design thinking and UX design practices, Rapid Software Architecture Exploration is a set of structured, lightweight architecture-centric design, discovery, and description practices built for speed and effectiveness.

For teams who desire effective yet lean software engineering practices, Rapid Software Architecture Exploration is a set of structured, lightweight architecture design, discovery, and description practices designed to efficiently explore the design space and articulate a working solution.

Unlike prevailing architecture-centric practices, Rapid Software Architecture Exploration practices allow your team to maximize design discovery speed and increase agility without sacrificing engineering effectiveness. This is accomplished by focusing on essential architectural information, encouraging team and customer collaboration, and by emphasizing systemic thinking throughout the team. Aspects of the problem and solution are explored in unison so a satisficing solution can be reached as quickly as possible.

Handout describing the various methods used during the workshop

Slides from the latest version of the Rapid Software Architecture Exploration Workshop

Example of workshop outcomes from XP 2013 in Vienna Austria

Running your own Training or Workshop

You have permission to use any of these methods, ideas, or materials provided on this page on your own teams or within your own workshops and training provided agree to the following conditions.
  • You will send me feedback regarding the use and application of any ideas or methods.
  • You will include proper citations in any distributed or presented materials (note that not all citations point here and I try to do the same).

Workshop activity posters (for workshop stations)

For smaller groups (50 or fewer), it's useful to run the hands-on portion of the workshop as a set of stations that participants explore at their own pace.  The facilitator's job at this time is to rove about the room, checking on groups, answering questions, and helping people get unstuck who might need it but don't yet know they need it.

Station labels and instructions


For larger groups (50+), packets of printed worksheets can be used by teams organized into small groups (3-5 people). Worksheets are also good if you're just doing the exercises with your team and all you have is a regular laser printer. The facilitator will still need to monitor the audience, and perhaps more vigilance is required as you won't be able to easily see common participation anti-patterns easily.

Stakeholder map, Failure modes, question-comment-concern, round-robin design

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