The Art of Systems Architecting  book cover
3rd Edition

The Art of Systems Architecting

ISBN 9781032099521
Published June 30, 2021 by CRC Press
466 Pages 44 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

If engineering is the art and science of technical problem solving, systems architecting happens when you don’t yet know what the problem is. The third edition of a highly respected bestseller, The Art of Systems Architecting provides in-depth coverage of the least understood part of systems design: moving from a vague concept and limited resources to a satisfactory and feasible system concept and an executable program. The book provides a practical, heuristic approach to the "art" of systems architecting. It provides methods for embracing, and then taming, the growing complexity of modern systems.

New in the Third Edition:

  • Five major case studies illustrating successful and unsuccessful practices

  • Information on architecture frameworks as standards for architecture descriptions

  • New methods for integrating business strategy and architecture and the role of architecture as the technical embodiment of strategy

  • Integration of process guidance for organizing and managing architecture projects

  • Updates to the rapidly changing fields of software and systems-of-systems architecture

  • Organization of heuristics around a simple and practical process model

 A Practical Heuristic Approach to the Art of Systems Architecting

Extensively rewritten to reflect the latest developments, the text explains how to create a system from scratch, presenting invention/design rules together with clear explanations of how to use them. The author supplies practical guidelines for avoiding common systematic failures while implementing new mandates. He uses a heuristics-based approach that provides an organized attack on very ill-structured engineering problems. Examining architecture as more than a set of diagrams and documents, but as a set of decisions that either drive a system to success or doom it to failure, the book provide methods for integrating business strategy with technical architectural decision making.

Table of Contents

Part I: Introduction

A Brief Review of Classical Architecting Methods

Chapter 1 Extending the Architecting Paradigm

Introduction: The Classical Architecting Paradigm

Responding to Complexity

The High Rate of Advances in the Computer and Information Sciences

The Foundations of Modern Systems Architecting

The Architecture Paradigm Summarized

The Waterfall Model of Systems Acquisition

Spirals, Increments, and Collaborative Assembly

Scopes of Architecting

Chapter 2 Heuristics as Tools

Introduction: A Metaphor

Heuristics as Abstractions of Experience

Selecting a Personal Kit of Heuristic Tools

Using Heuristics

A Process Framework for Architecting Heuristics

Heuristics on Heuristics

A Taxonomy of Heuristics

New Directions

Part II: New Domains, New Insights

Case Study 1: DC-3

The History

Architecture Interpretation

Three Story Variations

Was the Boeing 247 Successfully Architected?

What Is the "Architecture" of the DC-3?

Art Raymond’s Principles

Chapter 3 Builder-Architected Systems

Introduction: The Form-First Paradigm

Technological Substitutions within Existing Systems

Consequences of Uncertainty of End Purpose

Architecture and Competition

Reducing the Risks of Uncertainty of End Purpose

Risk Management by Intermediate Goals

The "What Next?" Quandary

Controlling the Critical Features of the Architecture

Abandonment of an Obsolete Architecture

Creating Innovative Teams

Architecting "Revolutionary" Systems

Systems Architecting and Basic Research

Heuristics for Architecting Technology-Driven Systems

Case Study 2: Mass and Lean Production


An Architectural History of Mass Production

Cottage Industry (1890s to 1910s)

Birth of Mass Production (1908–1913)

Competition from New Quarters (1920s to 1930s)

The Toyota Production System (1940s to 1980s)

Metaphor or Vision Changes


A Car for the Masses, or If We Build It, It Will Sell

Cars as Fashion

The Supermarket Metaphor

The Toyota Way

Elements of the Architecture of the Ford Production System

The Assembly Line

Enterprise Distribution

Management Processes

Quality Assurance for Distributed Production

Devotion to Component-Level Simplification

Social Contract

Chapter 4 Manufacturing Systems

Introduction: The Manufacturing Domain

Manufacturing in Context

Architectural Innovations in Manufacturing

Dynamic Manufacturing Systems

Lean Production

Flexible Manufacturing

Heuristics for Architecting Manufacturing Systems

Case Study 3: Intelligent Transportation Systems


ITS Concepts

ITS Sociotechnical Issues

Who Is the Client for an Architect?

Public or Private?

Facts and Perceptions

Architecture as Shared Invariants

Dominance of Economics

Chapter 5 Social Systems

Introduction: Defining Sociotechnical Systems

Public Participation

The Foundations of Sociotechnical Systems Architecting

The Separation of Client and User

Socioeconomic Insights

The Interaction between the Public and Private Sectors

Facts versus Perceptions: An Added Tension

Heuristics for Social Systems

Case Study 4: Hierarchical to Layered Systems

Business Background

Motivation for Change

The Layered Alternative

The Pain of the Transition


Chapter 6 Software and Information Technology Systems

Introduction: The Status of Software Architecting

Software as a System Component

Systems, Software, and Process Models

The Problem of Hierarchy

The Role of Architecture in Software-Centered Systems

Programming Languages, Models, and Expression

Architectures, "Unifying" Models, and Visions

Directions in Software Architecting


Case Study 5: The Global Positioning System

The History

The Origins of GPS: The Foundational Programs

Inertial Navigation and Its Limits

Weapon Delivery

The Transit Program



The Origin of GPS

Parkinson and Currie

The Fateful Weekend

The Long Road to Revolution

The Timeline to Operation

Commercial Markets and the Gulf War

Revolution in the Second Generation

Ubiquitous GPS

GPS-Guided Weapons

Architecture Interpretation

Right Idea, Right Time, Right People

Be Technically Aggressive, But Not Suicidal

Consensus without Compromise

Architecture as Invariants

Revolution through Coupled Change

Chapter 7 Collaborative Systems

Introduction: Collaboration as a Category

Collaborative System Examples

Analogies for Architecting Collaborative Systems

Collaborative System Heuristics

Variations on the Collaborative Theme


Standards and Collaborative Systems

Part III: Models and Modeling

Introduction to Part III

A Civil Architecture Analogy

Guide to Part III

Chapter 8 Representation Models and Systems Architecting

Introduction: Roles, Views, and Models

Roles of Models

Models, Viewpoints, and Views

Classification of Models by View



Notes and References

Chapter 9 Design Progression in Systems Architecting

Introduction: Architecting Process Components

Design Progression

Introduction by Examples

Design as the Evolution of Models

Evaluation Criteria and Heuristic Refinement

Design Concepts for Systems Architecture

Architecture and Design Disciplines

Chapter 10 Integrated Modeling Methodologies


General Integrated Models

Integrated Modeling and Software

Integrated Models for Manufacturing Systems

Integrated Models for Sociotechnical Systems

Chapter 11 Architecture Frameworks


Defining an Architecture Framework

Current Architecture Frameworks

Research Directions

Adapting Processes to Frameworks


Notes and References

Part IV: The Systems Architecting Profession

Chapter 12 Architecting in Business and Government


Strategy and Architecture in Business and Government

Architecture of Programs

Strategic Architecting of Programs

Enterprise Architecture

Chapter 13 The Political Process and Systems Architecting

Introduction: The Political Challenge

Politics as a Design Factor

The First Skill to Master

Heuristics in the Political Process: "The Facts of Life"

A Few More Skills to Master

Chapter 14 The Professionalization of Systems Architecting


The Profession of Systems Engineering

Systems Architecting and Systems Standards

The Origins of Systems Standards

Commercial Standards

Company Standards

A Summary of Standards Developments, 1950–1995

Systems Architecting Graduate Education

Curriculum Design

Advanced Study in Systems Architecting

Professional Societies and Publications

Conclusion: An Assessment of the Profession

Notes and References

Appendix A: Heuristics for Systems-Level Architecting

Introduction: Organizing the List

Heuristic Tool List


Notes and References

Appendix B: Reference Texts Suggested for Institutional Libraries

Architecting Background



Specialty Areas


Systems Sciences

Systems Thinking

Appendix C: On Defining Architecture and Other Terms

Defining "Architecture"

Models, Viewpoints, and Views



Author Index

Subject Index

View More



Mark W. Maier