Simon lives in Jersey (the largest of the Channel Islands) and works as an independent consultant, helping teams to build better software. His client list spans over 20 countries and includes organisations ranging from small technology startups through to global household names. Simon is an award-winning speaker and the author of Software Architecture for Developers – a developer-friendly guide to software architecture, technical leadership and the balance with agility. He still codes too.
YOW! 2014 Melbourne
Agility and the Essence of Software Architecture
TALK – VIEW SLIDES
On one hand the software development industry is pushing forward, reinventing the way that we build software, striving for agility and craftsmanship at every turn. On the other though, we’re continually forgetting the good of the past and software teams are still failing on an alarmingly regular basis. Software architecture plays a pivotal role in the delivery of successful software yet it’s often neglected. Whether performed by one person or shared amongst the team, the software architecture role exists on even the most agile of teams yet the balance of up front and evolutionary thinking often reflects aspiration rather than reality. By steering away from big up front design and ivory tower architects, many teams now struggle to create a consistent, shared technical vision to work from. This can result in chaos, big balls of mud or software that still fails to meet its goals, despite continuous user involvement.
This talk will explore the importance of software architecture and the consequences of not thinking about it, before introducing some lightweight techniques to bring the essence of software architecture back into an agile environment. We’ll look at creating a shared vision within the development team, effectively communicating that vision and managing technical risk. I’ll also share the strategies that I’ve used to introduce these techniques into agile teams, even those that didn’t think that they needed them.
Simple sketches for diagramming your software architecture
Agility is about moving fast and this requires good communication. A consistent, shared vision is essential in order for teams to push in the same direction, but it’s surprising that many teams struggle to effectively communicate the architecture of the software they are building. As an industry we do have the Unified Modeling Language (UML), yet many people favour informal boxes and lines sketches instead. The problem is that such diagrams rarely make any sense, usually need a narrative to accompany them and ultimately slow the team down. Although we can argue whether UML offers an effective way to communicate software architecture, that’s often irrelevant because many teams have already thrown out UML or simply don’t know it. Abandoning UML is one thing but, in the race for agility, many software development teams have lost the ability to communicate visually too.