A3 system overview

Concise documenting of key system characteristics

Most high-tech systems are specified using a large number of documents that vary widely in content and form. It’s an approach that involves many risks: documentation becomes out-of-date, incomplete, inconsistent and increasingly difficult to access. As a result, product developers may operate and make design decisions on inadequate or outdated system representations.

In the A3 approach, architectural overviews are presented in A3-format as graphical and textual representations. The complete system is documented in terms of a limited set of system concepts. Furthermore, each concept is represented by multiple connected system views that demonstrate the interdependencies between the different views.

Read more

A3 system overview

Method details

Method description

  1. Select key architectural concept and target audience
  2. Capture the following information on a single A3 sheet:
    •  Functional overview
    •  Physical overview
    •  Design decisions and key system
  3. Evaluate and, if needed, adapt and repeat all steps

Research project

  • Darwin


Industrial partner:

  • Philips Healthcare

Academic partner:

  • University of Twente


Business manager:

Frans Beenker


+31 (0)88-866 5420