Architecture Without an End State - Intermediate


Learn how to build systems that evolve and flex in small steps over time. Design software architecture that adapts to stresses from business and technology change. Stop aiming for the poster on the wall and forget about the three-year plan to build the “end state.”

This intermediate class builds on the topics from the introductory level.


Architecture plans in enterprises tend to resemble late-night infomercials. First, you see a person or system that seems incapable of survival—a situation that can be immediately rectified if you just buy into the product. (One popular infomercial shows incompetent people mangling tomatoes transitioning into Ginsu-wielding sous chefs; the architecture pitch starts with hideous complexity then moves to clean orthogonal box diagrams.) Operators are always standing by.

Real architecture never reaches that blissful end state. Something always interrupts the program: businesses change, technology changes, or funding dries up. What would happen if you did reach the end state, anyway? Is IT in the company done? Of course not.

The truth is that there is no end state. We must all learn to build systems that evolve and grow. We need to stop aiming for the end state and understand that change is continuous. We cannot predict the details, but we can learn the general patterns.

Michael Nygard demonstrates how to design and architect systems that admit change—bending and flexing through time. Michael will teach you how to use all the tools at your disposal: technical design, information architecture, infrastructure, and some process change, to transform rigid systems into maneuverable architecture.

This workshop includes both teaching and hands-on design sessions. Design sessions will be paper and whiteboard work in small groups. You’ll work on real problems drawn from a variety of industries. If you’re a developer or architect working with medium to large architectures and building applications in the context of existing systems or transitioning to new systems, this is the tutorial for you.

Prerequisite knowledge

Either the the introductory level or a few years of experience with system architecture.

Students should be able to draw a System Context Diagram, identify interfaces across boundaries, and know what the architecture qualities are.

What you’ll learn

Topics Covered

Application Architecture

System Design

Infrastructure and Runtime Platforms

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