26 days ago

Emergence: Babies and Bathwater, Plans and Planning

  “Emergent” is a word that I run into from time to time. When I do run into it, I’m reminded of an exchange from the movie Gallipoli: Archy Hamilton: I’ll see you when I see you. Frank Dunne: Yeah. Not if I see you first. The reason for my ambivalent relationship with the word […]

1 month, 24 days ago

Organizations as Systems and Innovation

Over the last year or so, the concept of looking at organizations as systems has been a major theme for me. Enterprises, organizations and their ecosystems (context) are social systems composed of a fractal set of social and software systems. As such, enterprises have an architecture. Another long-term theme for this site has been my […]

10 months, 16 days ago

Back to the OODA – Making Design Decisions

A few weeks back, in my post “Enterprise Architecture and the Business of IT”, I mentioned that I was finding myself drawn more and more toward Enterprise Architecture (EA) as a discipline, given its impact on my work as a software architect. Rather than a top-down approach, seeking to design an enterprise as a whole, […]

10 months, 20 days ago

Abuse Cases – What Could Go Wrong?

Last week, in a post titled “The Flaw in All Things”, John Vincent discussed the problem of seeing “the flaw in all things”: It’s overwhelming. It’s paralyzing. I can’t finish a project because I keep finding things that could cause problems. I even mentioned this to our CTO and CEO at one point when we […]

11 months, 5 days ago

Abstract Dangers – When ‘And’ Meets ‘Or’

There’s an old saying that if you put one foot in a bucket of ice and the other in a bucket of boiling water, on average you’re comfortable. Sometimes analyzing information in the aggregate obscures rather than enlightens. A statistician named Francis Anscombe pointed out this same principle in a more visual (though less colorful) […]

11 months, 14 days ago

Form Follows Function on SPaMCast 389

This week’s episode of Tom Cagley’s Software Process and Measurement (SPaMCast) podcast, number 389, features Tom’s essay on Agile acceptance testing, Kim Pries talking about soft skills, and a Form Follows Function installment on sense-making and decision-making in the practice of software architecture. Tom and I discuss my post “OODA vs PDCA – What’s the […]

11 months, 28 days ago

NPM, Tay, and the Need for Design

Take a couple of seconds and watch the clip in the tweet below: While it would be incredibly difficult to predict that exact outcome, it is also incredibly easy to foresee that it’s a possibility. As the saying goes, “forewarned is forearmed”. Being forewarned and forearmed is an important part of what an architect does. […]

1 year, 11 days ago

Form Follows Function on SPaMCast 385

This week’s episode of Tom Cagley’s Software Process and Measurement (SPaMCast) podcast, number 385, features Tom’s essay on Agile portfolio metrics, Kim Pries talking about the value of diversity, and a Form Follows Function installment on sense-making and decision-making in the practice of software architecture. Tom and I discuss my post “Architecture and OODA Loops […]

1 year, 25 days ago

Accidental Innovation?

From my very first post, I’ve been writing on the subject of “accidental architecture”, which is also sometimes confused with “emergence”. From the picture on the right (which I used previously on a post titled “Accidental Architecture”), it should be easy to infer what my opinion is in regard to the idea that coherent system […]

1 year, 2 months ago

OODA vs PDCA – What’s the Difference?

In my post “Architecture and OODA Loops – Fast is not Enough”, I stated that sense-making and decision-making were critical skills for the practice of software architecture. I further stated that I found the theories of John Boyd, particularly his OODA loop, useful in understanding and describing effective sense-making and decision-making. My conclusion was that […]

1 year, 2 months ago

Architecture and OODA Loops – Fast is not Enough

Sense-making and decision-making are critical skills for the practice of software architecture. Creating effective solutions (i.e. the collection of design decisions that make up the product) is dependent on understanding the architecture of the problem. In other words, the quality of our decisions depends on the quality of our understanding of the context those decisions […]

1 year, 4 months ago

We Deliver Decisions (Who Needs Architects?)

What do medicine, situational awareness, economics, confirmation bias, and value all have to do with all have to do with the architectural design of software systems? Quite a lot, actually. To connect the dots, we need to start from the point of view that the architecture is essentially a set of design decisions intended to […]