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Architecture Decision Records in Action

May 2017 Presentation
Michael Keeling (IBM Watson Group), Joe Runde (IBM)

Architecture Decision Records capture architectural design decisions in a lightweight plain-text template stored in your existing version control system.


Software Engineering Institute




Documenting architecture design decisions is commonly considered a good practice, but few teams take the time to write down the decisions they make. This happens for a few reasons: architecture documentation is rejected as being too heavyweight, documentation is typically out of sight and out of mind, and many developers don't know what to document. Architecture Decision Records (ADRs), a lightweight documentation approach proposed by Michael Nygard, solves these problems by recording design decisions in a simple markdown template in the same repository as the code affected by the ADR. In this talk, we will share our experiences and lessons from using ADRs over the past year while working on multiple projects for IBM Watson. By the end of this talk, you will be able to create effective ADRs, introduce them to your team, and avoid common pitfalls with the method.