Information technology (IT) architects know how hard it is to collect architectural information in an engagement and keep it all clear and organized in their minds. Transforming that information into the models of a viable architecture and keeping associated work products consistent and up-to-date is an even greater challenge. Despite this, model-centric architectural methods are not as widely adopted or as closely followed as they could be, partly due to a lack of appropriate tools. Architects' Workbench (AWB) is prototype technology that addresses these problems and supports the creative process of architectural thinking and modeling.
We present key AWB innovations and discuss how their design was motivated by insights into architectural work and feedback from IT architects. We describe the design of AWB itself as a metamodel-driven and method-based tool, we report on experience from the use of AWB in production environments, we discuss productivity and quality gains arising out of the use of AWB, and we present lessons learned concerning tool support for IT architecture.