Architecture summit Bangalore – Out of sync from my Agile world

So I am here at the World Architecture summit. I am an Agile Lean Practitioner and have been building systems for many years. To be precise – 15 years all together now. I began with big systems built using XP Practices this was for a US railway automation project which took five years to build. I started as a developer who simply took orders to now where I tend to question everything about why and how we go about building an enterprise and the software that runs these enterprises. I am not sure if I have matured on not,but since I have held on to iterative, agile modelling over years, for me big bang architecture esp at a enterprise level is something I have erased from my dictionary.

I am not saying architecture is not important but havent’ we matured at all over the last fifteen years to realize that the more pictures we do, system diagram, component diagram, network diagram, Sequence diagram, strategy diagrams and then somewhere code follows, the worser systems we would develop.

Today’s key note was by John Zachman.

It has been a while since I saw the use of overhead projectors. His hour long presentation was quite a eye opener for me and made my resolve to build systems in an Agile way that the big bang framework based development.

His presentation was quite emotional but not well thought out. I am really curious to dig deeper now and understand from companies that follow Zachman Framework, and understand their ability to adapt to the ever changing business needs.

The second one was from Sunil Datt Jha, who is the organizer of this conference and runs the company ICMG world.A great presenter who worked the audience well. He presented a seven step process for an enterprise that is built on the Zachman framework. His theory was that architecture governance is key to the company. He compared the Bangalore Metro project and its mapping to the Zachman Framework.His main point was that software development is like construction project. Both need a lot of planning and governance etc.

This I fundamentally disagree. Software systems are exactly the opposite of construction projects. You can build really large systems and maintain systems with a fundamentally different set of thinking.

Draw less, think more. Write less code, build more.With good engineering, software can be changed much more quickly than you could redesign a half build bridge.

Architecture to me is knowing as a company what to build and why to build those systems. It is not about diagrams boxes, code etc.

One thing in Sunil’s presentation got me thinking. Why do we have titles today in our organization. J2EE architect, .NET architect. He asked why dont we have GE XRAY Machine Doctor.Companies are changing though. I believe TCS and Infosys here in India have reorganized themselves now around verticals that specializations like .NET, JAVA, SAP etc.

The last key note which I am sitting now in is by the Police Commissioner of Karnataka Police who spoke about Architecture in the Indian Security. He is a fantasic speaker. This discussion was nothing to do with architecture, but was more about how he is using Zachman Framework for his work at the police department. His argument was that this framework helps him with the process that gives him a way to get the right information at the right time.

After lunch I took some time to speak to a speaker from Germany. Then went to a cloud presentation from OrangeScape a cloud platform provider. One line that stuck from his speech – “Use cloud for scalability and not for performance”


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