An Architectural Decision Record (ADR) is a document that outlines all the choices a team makes about the software ‘architecture’ they’re building and the consequences the design will have on customers and users. The word ‘architecture’ here refers to how a web-based platform, server or cloud is structured to allow for file storage, sharing, management and integration. 

An ADR helps inform the project's scope by creating a ‘decision log’, a record of the project as it's built out. A project manager can then review the ADR to make sure it's in line with the project costing and division choices, reviewing previous decisions to check on progress.

Where would you use an ADR checklist?

A software engineer might use an ADR to outline their progress prior to and even during the building of a software architecture. A typical ADR will include the following;

  • Any structural requirements
  • Any interfaces needed
  • Construction techniques (such as frameworks, software tools and digital libraries)
  • Non-functional requirements (such as security features and failsafe options)

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