Enter Lean Principles
The software industry is doing a good job of evangelizing the principles of Womack & Jones’s Lean Thinking when it comes to what software to build and how to build it. There’s another piece to the puzzle, though. Among other things, lean thinking tells us to do more than just focus on our own process. It tells you to look up and down the entire value stream of which you are a part. That is, you need to look at everything that happens to convey and transform raw materials into value for a consumer.
For most software firms, especially those that make software for businesses, what they make is just one tool used in a long chain of events. That sequence likely spans multiple software systems and physical activities in order to create value.
Understanding those steps and using them to drive architectural decisions is immensely helpful. It both sets the context for a project and provides important details about the real work being done, from which you can draw conclusions about what components, services, and applications must be built.