What is an Artefact and in what areas is the term used?
Results generated in projects and developments
The term “artefact” comes from Latin and means “handicraft” or “what has been made”. An artefact is therefore an object created by humans. This very general approach makes it possible to speak of artefacts in archaeology, diagnostics, forensics, but also in photography, technology and even in market and media research. But also in project management, software development and Unified Modeling Language (UML) the artefact is used as a term.
Artefacts in the context of companies
In UML, an artefact represents the result of a work process, e.g.
- a file with source code,
- one element in the distribution diagram
- or a text document with defined requirements for a system.
Software development also offers the option of generating artefacts by generation and thus generating a piece of code from a UML, SysML or BPMN diagram using software, for example. Such approaches are called “Model Diven Development”.
The situation is similar in project management: artefacts, e.g.
- risk lists
- or schedules
can be generated with appropriate software. The German V-Modell XT offers a special feature as a guideline for the planning and implementation of system development projects, which declares artefacts as products. Every intermediate and final result, every requirement and every change request, every project proposal and every requirement specification is a product. Consequently, V-Modell XT is also understood as a product-centered process model.
The term “artefact” is mainly used in British English, while “artifact” is used in American English. Both words carry the same meaning.