A Trace in the Sand

by Ruth Malan

 

 

 

 

Architects Architecting Architecture  

September 2014

9/1/14

What's a Trace?

My Trace is a playground for developing ideas, for exploring architecture and the role of architects. It is a journal of discovery, and traces my active reflection. I've been journaling "out loud" here for over eight years. To get a sense of the span, calibre and contribution of this body of work, there's a selection of traces linked here. When reading a trace in isolation, it may feel like you've been dropped into a thought fray unprepared for the action that is already in progress. It's okay. You're smart, and my Trace assumes that. You'll get your bearing quickly. Just give it a chance.

What is my Trace like? Well, for example... Back when (2/8/2013, if you must know), I traced these notes on "legacy":

I generally side-step the "legacy" term and simply ask: how long have the systems your business depends on, been around? The answer is always years (start-ups excepted), and always longer than people on those projects supposed, when the systems were first built. Then I draw (a variant of) this diagram:

strategy and architecture

And I observe that the systems are still around, because they deliver crucial business value.
...
Systems -- and their architectures -- enable and constrain the business. We have them, because they enable something we can't do without. But they also constrain what we can do, and how responsive we can be to opportunities in the market. And the deeper the inertial entanglement within the system, and of the system to past assumptions that no longer apply, the more miring the constraint. Constraints aren't necessarily bad; they focus and limit, but when the environment and hence desired oucomes shift, the constraints (ramifications of outdated intentions and entanglements) may no longer be adaptive and useful.
...
As terminology goes, I like to think of legacy systems as simply the systems we have in place -- they are the legacy of decisions and actions in the past bequeathed to us in the present, and they may be in good shape or bad. Ok, so they're typically in bad shape, or worse than we'd like, and worse over time. And too often without (adequate) tests that provide confidence in the state of the code, and allow us to make changes to it with confidence.

And I borrowed from some of Conrad Aiken's legacy:

What did we build it for? Was it all a dream? . . . 
Ghostly above us in lamplight the towers gleam . . . 
And after a while they will fall to dust and rain; 
Or else we will tear them down with impatient hands; 
And hew rock out of the earth, and build them again.

-- Conrad Aiken, from The Dreamer of Dreams

 

So, you see, that's what my Trace is like. It is rather more like a journal or diary than the usual blog, in that it invites you to join an exploration in progress. Of course it is related, broadly speaking, to my interests in the areas that impact architects architecting architecture -- taking into account that our humanity as architects working in social contexts factors. If you want an idea of the mental map that organizes my thinking, you can scan the topic headings in my Trace map.

Let it be noted. Reading here is a tolerance workout. And a tolerance for ambiguity workout. An empathy workout. And if you're training for like supergalactic missions, it's a great reading comprehension workout. ;-)

 

"The moment that code springs into being and is made manifest in a system, it becomes legacy." -- Grady Booch

 

 

Enterprise Architecture

So you know:

"Recently, ACM's Enterprise Architecture Tech Pack underwent a "refresh." Edited by James Lapalme, Assistant Director of the Numerix Research Laboratory at l’École (ÉTS) de technologie supérieure in Montreal, Canada, this expert reading list includes ACM Digital Library materials and key non-ACM readings.

The Enterprise Architecture Tech Pack provides perspectives and insights into Enterprise Architecture (EA), the fast-growing discipline and profession. Successful implementation of EA helps organizations respond to business needs and translate their vision and strategy into effective enterprise change. Although organizations are striving to be more effective in today's globally connected world, many have yet to achieve the benefits that EA can produce."

-- ACM email, 9/2/14

Tech Pack huh?

 

I also write at:

- Bredemeyer Resources for  Architects

- Trace In the Sand Blog

 

 

 

Journal Archives

- Journal Map

- storylines tubemap by Peter Bakker

 

2014

- January
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- May
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- August
- Current

2013

- January
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- May
- June
- July
- August
- September
- October
- November
- December

2012

- January
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- April
- May
- June
- July
- August
- September
- October
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- December

 

2011

- January

- February

- March

- April

- May

- June

- July

- August

- September

- October

- November

- December

 

More Archives

 

 

 

I also write at:

Papers:

- Strategy, Architecture and Agility: The Art of Change: Fractal and Emergent, 2010 

- Innovation and Agile Architecting: Getting Past ‘But’: Finding Opportunity and Making It Happen, 2008

- EA and Business Strategy: Enterprise Architecture as Strategic Differentiator, 2005

- The Role of the Architect:: What it Takes to be a Great Enterprise Architect, 2004

 

Ruth Malan has played a pioneering role in the software architecture field, helping to define architectures and the process by which they are created and evolved, and helping to shape the role of the software, systems and enterprise architect. She and Dana Bredemeyer created the Visual Architecting Process which emphasizes: architecting for agility, integrity and sustainability. Creating architectures that are good, right and successful, where good: technically sound; right: meets stakeholders goals and fits context and purpose; and successful: actually delivers strategic outcomes. Translating business strategy into technical strategy and leading the implementation of that strategy. Applying guiding principles like: the extraordinary moment principle; the minimalist architecture principle; and the connect the dots principle. Being agile. Creating options.

Feedback: I welcome input, discussion and feedback on any of the topics in this Trace in The Sand Journal, my blog, and the Resources for Architects website, or, for that matter, anything relevant to architects, architecting and architecture! I can be reached at

Use: If you wish to quote or paraphrase original work on this page, please properly acknowledge the source, with appropriate reference to this web page. Thank you.

Visualization

- Links to tools and other resources

 

Misc.

- Other Interests

 

Email:

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Ruth by West

Copyright © 2013 by Ruth Malan
http://www.ruthmalan.com
Page Created:July 1, 2013
Last Modified: September 2, 2014