Project-level reuse: How Pega Business Architects can embrace the Situational Layer Cake to become faster and lighter

Gavin Morris,

Reuse is a word that gets thrown around a lot in every part and phase of Pega project delivery. Its benefits are numerous, including faster time to value and lighter development requirements (lower cost and shorter duration), and Pega supports reuse through its Situational Layer Cake and patented rule resolution algorithm.

It’s easy to think of reuse as something that falls only to system architects. But Pega Business Architects need to think about reuse as well.

In this post, I’m going to talk about what project-level reuse means from the perspective of the Pega Business Architect and offer some specific ideas for how Pega Business Architects can think about reuse to increase their impact on Pega projects.

Project-Level Reuse

There are different levels of reuse (IT, Business, Project, Portfolio) and each level has its own set of significant enablers (for example, having a consistent application data model or creating a well-defined Business Entity Relationship Diagram). For the purpose of this post I will be concentrating on project-level reuse and will leave portfolio-level reuse for a future post on Center of Excellence (CoE) functions.

When it comes to project-level reuse, there are a lot of opinions about what that means and how to achieve it. Everyone wants reuse, and everyone on a project team will say they are doing it, but I rarely see the Business Architect (as the solution designer) actively pursue and document it in a project. IT say they are delivering reuse, and they do! The Pega application lends itself to putting interface definitions in a project’s own layer in the Situational Layer Cake. But this is the absolute least we can do.

Think about it for a minute. If you can produce one customer definition, one product definition, one payment definition, one onboarding process definition how much faster will be able to go live, and how much duplicated code will you be able to save in your app build? By creating definitions with a view to reuse, the result is not just greater efficiency, but also greater consistency across your portfolio, improved user experience, and higher impact as a result of higher rates of application adoption. In other words, reuse leads to happier project teams, and a happier enterprise.

Even if you can’t reuse something 100% you should be able to define a common core and then only develop the delta (typically the 80/20 rule applies).

Moving the needle

What can we as Pega Business Architects do to start moving the reuse needle?

  • Understand the concept of reuse and articulate it early and often to your stakeholders
  • Try to find a business champion for the cause
  • As you analyze each solution ask if the application parts can be considered reusable in the solution, and agree which part of the Situational Layer Cake they belong in
  • Mark the story appropriately and make sure it's understood and adopted by IT representatives
  • Maintain a reuse catalogue – know what you can potentially reuse, make sure everyone knows where it is, and keep it up to date
  • Try to measure the benefit, not just of building a component, but as something that is reusable in other projects as well
  •  Publicize the benefit of reuse when you have something to shout about

As the solution designer, the Pega Business Architect should be at the front and center of building reusable business components. Make "can I reuse it?" the first thing you think about when you have identified a solution part.

Do you agree? What has worked for you? I would love to hear from you on Pega Collaboration Center here.

 

Don't Forget

About the Author

Gavin Morris is director of enterprise advisory services at Pegasystems.