Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect Review

I can create requirements, draw all kinds of UML diagrams, link it all together and produce nice PDF reports and charts for the stakeholders.

Valuable Features

There are many, but the most important is traceability, and having the option to quickly drill down from a birdseye view to the little details, and back.

Improvements to My Organization

I can create requirements, draw all kinds of UML diagrams, link it all together and produce nice PDF reports and charts for the stakeholders. We even quit using JIRA and perform issue tracking with a nearshoring team of 10 people directly in Sparx.

Room for Improvement

Once you know the tool, there is not much left that I miss. It lacks some collaborative functions like sending emails when a status changed. But I can perfectly live with that, by using Discussions and Model Mail in EA. Another thing is the locking of diagrams etc., which is important when working in a team. This can be a little bit cumbersome. But here I also have found a nice workaround, so again, I can perfectly live with that.

What I miss is a way to hide stuff that I don't need, so that all the windows and views are not clustered with unnecessary stuff. That would also be nice for new team members, so that they are not lost so many times.

Use of Solution

I've been using it for four years.

Deployment Issues

We've had no issues with the deployment.

Stability Issues

It is very stable. It only doesn't like when it loses connection to the database repository, but even after a forced reboot, I have never lost any data.

Scalability Issues

We have had no issues scaling it for our needs.

Customer Service and Technical Support

I only used it a few times, when I forgot passwords or license keys. The support was always fast and excellent.

Initial Setup

I always compare EA with a lovely beast. It seems very complex at the beginning, because it provides you with all options in all places, but once you realized that you don't have to use it all, and you know your workflow, it just works perfectly.

Implementation Team

We did it in house. It is a simple installation. Also, setting up the key store for managing the floating licenses is no rocket science.

Pricing, Setup Cost and Licensing

The price for such a tool is very fair. You can choose between different versions depending on your needs, and you can scale up any time later. There is a free trial (30 days), and a free version of EA to view the model. This is perfect for stakeholder to see what is going on.

Other Solutions Considered

I really tried hard to find the best solution that suits all needs. JIRA/Confluence, and many UML tools like Magic Draw. The only tool that comes close is Visual Paradigm. After some time evaluating, I chose EA, because it gives me the freedom of writing SQL queries, and I can create backups of the whole model very easily. Also, the concept of floating licenses is very nice if you work with different external teams.

Other Advice

Just be prepared that at the beginning EA will overwhelm you with all its options. It is very hard for example to create your first nice looking report. But if you don't give up too early, EA will pay off on the long run.

When I confronted the developer team that I plan to switch from JIRA to EA, they were not really happy. But now, after a short while, they love it because they immediately see changes, have access to all the diagrams (ERDs, Sequence Diagrams etc.). They now always have the big picture (I'm using mind maps, for example), and wherever they are, they can simply right-click an element, click "Find in Diagrams" and see this element in context. We even do all time reports in EA, directly on the Issues, Requirements etc. The hidden power of EA comes with its "Tagged Values". We are doing scrum, with sprints and retrospectives etc. all in EA without any additional extension or third party tool.

Which version of this solution are you currently using?

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Add a Comment
ITCS user

author avatarit_user456243 (User)

The topic is helpful for me. thanks.

author avatarit_user222765 (IT Consultant at a non-profit with 1,001-5,000 employees)

We can also generate As-Is and What to be reports to transfer requirements into solution

author avatarit_user121062 (Solution Architect at a tech services company with 51-200 employees)

Interesting with your tactics for working with scrum in Sparx EA, how do you do that?

author avatarit_user274194 (Software Engineer at a engineering company with 51-200 employees)

Since EA 13, Kanban is part of EA and can be used for scrum project.

author avatarOrlee Gillis

Mario, have you been using it for scrum? If so, how have you found it?