Simon is an independent consultant specialising in software architecture, and the author of “Software Architecture for Developers” (a developer-friendly guide to software architecture, technical leadership and the balance with agility). He is also the creator of the C4 model for visualising software architecture, and the founder of Structurizr. Simon is a regular speaker at international software development conferences, and travels the world to help organisations visualise and document their software architecture.
“Big design up front is dumb. Doing no design up front is even dumber.” This quote epitomises what I’ve seen during our journey from “big design up front” in the 20th century, to “emergent design” and “evolutionary architecture” in the 21st. In their desire to become “agile”, many teams seem to have abandoned architectural thinking, up front design, documentation, diagramming, and modelling. In many cases this is a knee-jerk reaction to the heavy bloated processes of times past, and in others it’s a misinterpretation and misapplication of the agile manifesto. As a result, many of the software design activities I witness these days are very high-level and superficial in nature. The resulting output, typically an ad hoc sketch on a whiteboard, is usually ambiguous and open to interpretation, leading to a situation where the underlying solution can’t be communicated, assessed, or reviewed. If you’re willing to consider that up front design is about creating a sufficient starting point, rather than creating a perfect end-state, you soon realise that a large amount of the costly rework and “refactoring” seen on many software development teams can be avoided. Join me for a discussion about the lost art of software design, and how we can reintroduce it to help teams scale and move faster.