When performing any design work, it's very easy to get lost amid the myriad of conflicting requirements, constraints, and best-practices (my personal favorite). Stakeholders, customers, SMEs, and suppliers are all jockeying for position, each with their own drivers for requirements, constraints, positioning and maximizing profit.
Such environments can generate a significant amount of noise and as architects, we need to draw clear boundaries over lines that are often being deliberately blurred.
I find its often useful to take a step back and look at the situation from the highest layer of abstraction, applying a "purpose 1st" perspective and understanding the "why" from the highest level.
So, why are we here and what is our purpose?
To get to the root of this, we need to take a look at the business we're in, Information Technology (IT). How clearly can any of us define this term, and how often do any of us think about what this actually means?
I like to define IT as follows:
IT provides the capability to efficiently, reliably and securely capture, store, access and manipulate data, to support intelligent business decisions.
It's a simple but very powerful definition, and retaining this as a key "purpose" for any solution can help drive clarity throughout the design process.
Any requirement, constraint or risk should have some alignment with this purpose, any that don’t should be challenged.
We can use this high-level purpose as an ally, as a benchmark for gauging requirements and justification for challenging those that don't align.
During the design process, you will find this perspective can also act as a lens, helping you clearly drill down and fully understand stakeholder drivers.
This approach has served me well, give it a try & add it to your toolkit, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised with the result.