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The Business Model Canvas Pattern: From Concept to Product Architecture in an Agile World

May 2016 Presentation
Arila Barnes (GE Digital)

This talk summarizes the Lean Business Canvas, Concept Maps, and Domain-Driven Design patterns and introduces a novel approach to developing product architecture.


Software Engineering Institute




This session is based on my experience leading GE Digital teams to develop solutions for external customers that incorporate the Business Model Canvas pattern in architecting microservice-based solutions. As in many software development organizations, adopting a cloud platform empowers our developers to develop, test, and deliver applications at an unprecedented rate. In addition, microservice-based architecture enables us to deliver scalable business-aligned capabilities and manage them much more effectively than monoliths.

In this development context, however, challenges remain:

  • How do we ensure that product architecture addresses real customer needs?
  • How do we align a continuous DevOps mode of development with a consistent business model?
  • How can an agile development team evolve product architecture iteratively?

In my talk, I’ll describe an approach to successfully address such challenges inspired by Design Thinking Business Analysis: Business Concept Mapping Applied, by Thomas Frisendal. I extend the author’s work to product architecture and agile development to enable teams to align with a customer’s needs by validating for desirability, viability, and feasibility.

First, I will summarize the Lean Business Canvas, Concept Maps, and Domain-Driven Design patterns. Second, I will introduce the details of a novel lean approach to developing product architecture that combines Business/ Lean Model Canvas, Design Thinking, and Agile practices. Architects will learn how to

  • use the Business Model Canvas or Lean Canvas to capture requirements from different stakeholders
  • map the business model to business concepts using design thinking and concept mapping
  • rapidly design microservice APIs that reflect business needs before launching into detailed implementations