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Wednesday, May 8 • 10:30am - 12:00pm
An Architect's Framework for Navigating Complexity

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We want our organizations and systems to be agile. We want them to evolve with the needs of the business, its customers, and its stakeholders and to be resilient in the face of ever-changing market conditions and the external environment. This level of adaptability and responsiveness needs to be supported by the architecture of the systems we create. The complexity of the environment that architects find themselves in is increasing in recent years, with cloud, DevOps, continuous deployment, microservices, and other elements adding to the factors that architects must consider. With this growing complexity, architects need to be supported by effective decision-making approaches.

Size is also a factor. Larger systems and larger organizations have, by definition, a larger number of dependencies (internal and external) that must be managed and a larger number of stakeholders (internal and external) whose needs must be addressed. The architecture of larger systems can involve hundreds or thousands of people, creating dozens to hundreds of products, components, and subsystems that all need to work together. Maintaining the conceptual integrity of the architecture under such circumstances, and over time, presents many challenges and a greater need for coherence.

To navigate all of this, agile architects need to be adaptive; they need the ability to dynamically shift their decision-making approach to match the complexity of the circumstances they face. This session will describe how lessons from complexity science—and in particular, sense making and the Cynefin framework—can help architects be more agile in how they work and, in turn, help them develop architectures that are more agile and adaptive to the needs of the organizations they serve.

Learning Outcomes
* Applying sense making in the context of architecture
* Applying the Cynefin framework to architecture problems and decisions
* Examples of architecture problems and decisions that can be mapped to the different domains represented by the Cynefin framework (obvious, complicated, complex, chaotic, and disordered)
* How to manage the transition of architecture problems between these different domains
* Implications for organization structure and communications
* How such an approach leads to a more resilient architecture and a more antifragile organization
* How complexity thinking and the Cynefin framework supports emergent architecture
* How complexity thinking and the Cynefin framework help the organization and the architecture be more agile

See the slides.

Watch the video.

avatar for Ken Power

Ken Power

Software Engineering Leader, https://kenpower.dev/
Ken Power has held multiple positions in large technology organizations. His current responsibilities include leading global, large-scale engineering organization transformations. He has been working with agile and lean methods since 1999. He holds patents in virtualization and network... Read More →

Wednesday May 8, 2019 10:30am - 12:00pm EDT
Grand Station 5 Sheraton Pittsburgh Hotel at Station Square