Product Architecture Diagram Drawing Method


The term "architecture" originated from the field of construction engineering. The structure determines the overall position, orientation and floor of a building. No matter how the building are decorated, its pillar and load-bearing wall cannot be easily changed. If they do, they can only be pushed down and rebuilt.

Similar to architecture, the architecture of a product should be determined in the early stage of the product, and the evolution of features should also be based on this architecture. If the architecture of the product is to be changed, it means that the features of the product will change greatly.

Architecture is so important to a product, and a visualization tool is essential, that is, a product architecture diagram.

A product architecture diagram with clear logic and clear hierarchy is a high abstraction of a product feature architecture system, which can tell the viewer about the business process, feature framework and design idea of a product. If the members of the project team can memorize the product architecture diagram, they will have an overall concept of the evolution direction of the product and will not lose their overall vision in the design and construction process.

The process of drawing feature architecture diagram is also a process to help product manager sort out how products evolve, a process to help analyze how requirements are iterated in stages, and also a process to help clarify the dependence or competition between our products and other products.

1. Product architecture diagram drawing method

Generally speaking, it only takes five steps to draw the product architecture diagram. I have summarized five phrases that I hope can help you remember: 1. sort out the scene and draw the process; 2. list the pages and modules; 3. cluster the features; 4. vertical and horizontal drawing methods.

1) Sort out the scene and draw the process ;

According to the actual business logic, based on users, roles, and scene, sort out the core business process, and draw a simple business flow diagram first. 

This step is the most important step in the five-step drawing method, which determines whether the business of the entire architecture can be connected. The drawing method of business process chart is relatively simple, so I won't go into details here.

2) List the pages and modules;

Based on the core business flow sorted out in the first step, list the pages, feature modules or processing mechanisms involved in each process according to the use path of target users.

The key to this step is to figure out what kind of problems each business node may face, and what kind of pages, features or processing mechanisms we need to design to support the effective solution of these business problems.

3) Cluster the features; 

Examine all the pages, features or processing mechanisms under each node in the business flow diagram, and form a simple matrix diagram of similar capabilities in a modular form.

In this step, we don't need to pay attention to the hierarchy of the architecture, but simply cluster and list the matrix.

4) Vertical and horizontal layering methods.

The fourth steps are the key to finally forming an effective product architecture diagram, which is to sort out the feature framework of the product from the horizontal and vertical perspectives respectively.

Fourth, put the product functions of the same scope or group in a horizontal level to get a basic product framework; Fifthly, based on the basic product framework, deal with the relationship between different architecture levels from bottom to top, and clarify the boundary logic between different products or systems.

2. Application example 

In order to help you further understand the five-step drawing method of product structure diagram, here we take the payment process of a financial product as an example, let's draw a product structure diagram.

1. Sort out business processes

From the perspective of user usage, the core process for users to purchase wealth management products and perform payment includes the following four links. The core business process is shown in Figure 2.1: 

  • The user selects the product on the wealth management platform, clicks the purchase and starts the payment process.
  • The wealth management platform initiates a payment request according to the payment method selected by the user.
  • The user chooses to pay immediately on the payment confirmation page, enters the payment password, and executes the payment operation.
  • The wealth management platform obtains the payment result returned by the payment institution and displays it to the user.

Figure 2.1 Core business process 

2. List feature modules

Based on the business process sorted out above, the next step is to consider what problems need to be solved in the scenario corresponding to each node in the process, and then think about which pages, feature modules or processing mechanisms should be set up to support the solution of the problem.

Figure 2.2 List feature modules

3. Form a feature matrix

By listing the feature modules corresponding to each business node in the core business process in the second step, we can proceed to the next step, putting modules with similar features together to form a feature matrix for the subsequent vertical and horizontal layering.
Figure 2.3 Forming a feature matrix

4. Build the basic framework (horizontal layering)

The following product features that are obviously of the same scope or group are placed in a horizontal hierarchy to obtain a basic product framework.

Figure 2.4 Horizontal frame

3. Conclusion

The product architecture diagram is a high degree of abstraction of the architecture of a product. It is the diagram that product colleagues should think about and optimize repeatedly, and should be able to draw them proficiently.

In order to do a simple job well, you need to master certain routines or mental methods.

The way of drawing a product architecture diagram is not complicated. The key lies in the application in actual work.When you need to draw a product architecture diagram, please recite the mental formula again. 

1. sort out the scene and draw the process; 2. list the pages and modules; 3. cluster the features; 4. vertical and horizontal drawing methods.

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