LAC2011 – Speed and Innovation

Still wanted to share some thought and ideas with you I took from the LAC 2011 – the largest symposium in The Netherlands on architecture in the digital world. The larger part of this post is taken from the key note on Speed and Innovation through Architecture by Jan Bosch. He states:

Speed trumps any other improvement R&D can provide to the company.

Speed and time to market deliver far more value than increasing the efficiency of a process. This especially holds for non-repetitive process like (software) product creation. To increase the speed and reduce time to market we should focus on the following aspects:

  • Small teams
  • Architecture
  • Release process

Small teams

Small teams work on the people side because a team member can experience the fruits of his or her individual efforts while on the other hand they contain the rewarding social element of camaraderie. Both are necessary for people to see their work as fulfilling.
On the process side, small teams increase speed because of the lowered need for coordination within the team and the existence of complexity. A team larger than three is required because of the need to learn from each other, the ability to deliver significant work and enable preservation of knowledge from the feedback the team has encountered. To get speed in the team at a high level the team needs to be self directed and managed.

Architecture – Keep it simple

First and foremost make sure your architecture enables you to simplify things! Keep in mind that rules and constraints can create complexity. And that is something you wanted to avoid when you started with architecture in the first place.

Architecture provides simplicity, compositionality and is designed in parallel with software development

An example would be to limit the number of things a team has to worry about during development. This could be done by applying the 3 API rule and there are other ways as well. Allways ask the questions whether the architecture enables the development team to perform.

Release process

In order to get speed into your development process you need to know/measure what people do, not what they think. Factor out opinion and chose data. To get proper results here you need a short PDCA cycle. Check and measure to get results back into your development process. This requires that you release early and often. Which in turn demands automated deployment and test.

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