Chris Bargmann

On Architecture Decision Records (ADRs)


A Quick Look at ADRs

In the bustling world of software projects, where confusion is king and your coffee gets cold as you debug, Architecture Decision Records (ADRs) come to the rescue. These documents are the unsung heroes, keeping track of important decisions so you don’t end up in a maze of “what were we thinking?”

ADRs are like a reliable map in a treasure hunt—they guide you through decision-making without leading you astray. They’re there to answer the “whys” and “hows” of past decisions, especially when you’re scratching your head over a peculiar choice.

Getting everyone on the same page is often as effective as yelling into a storm. ADRs slice through the chaos, offering a clear, unchanging message that everyone can refer to.

We’ve scribbled notes in the margins and spun tales in wikis, but each approach has its pitfalls. ADRs stand out as the all-rounder in your toolkit—always ready, always clear.

Anatomy of an ADR

An ADR is like a short story with three parts:

Title: Decision Title
Date: YYYY-MM-DD, Author: Name

## Status
- [ ] Proposed
- [x] Accepted

## Context
The situation and challenges faced.

## Decision
The chosen path.

## Consequences
Outcomes of the decision.

This format not only keeps records straight but also adds a bit of drama for future readers.

Creating an ADR is like mixing a potion:

This concoction creates a document that’s as useful as it is readable.

Where to Keep ADRs?

Burying your ADRs in a digital dungeon won’t do. Place them in a /docs/decisions folder where they’re easy to find and read, much like a library of wisdom. An ADR begins its life as a guiding light, steering the project clear of trouble. Over time, it becomes a story of the past, teaching and guiding future team members.

Writing Tips


For those crafting ADRs, tools like MADR or the templates from Michael Nygard offer a solid starting point. Choose the tool that fits your project like a glove. ADRs aren’t just for keeping records; they can be part of your team’s rituals, adding a touch of magic to routine processes and ensuring your documentation stays alive and kicking.


ADRs are more than documents; they’re a legacy of your project’s journey. They capture the wisdom of decisions made, lighting the way for those who come after. So, take up your pen with a dash of humor, and let your ADRs tell the tales of your project’s adventures.

#Software Architecture #ADR