Category Archives: Architecture

Sneller en vaker leveren

Onze winkel gaat sneller en vaker leveren. Zoals je in de afbeelding kan zien is het maar een kleine aanpassing in de front-end/website. Zoals met veel fulfillment aanpassingen zit er een hele wereld van planning en operatie achter om dit ook daadwerkelijk voor elkaar te krijgen.
Sneller en vaker leveren

Sneller en vaker leveren maakt het met de al bestaande leveropties voor klanten mogelijk om de levering van bestellingen af te stemmen op hun behoefte.

Organizational Debt

Organizational DebtEveryone knows what debt is. If you are in or around the software development community you probably also know the term technical dept. For others:

Technical debt is a concept in programming that reflects the extra development work that arises when code that is easy to implement in the short run is used instead of applying the best overall solution.

Or as Ward Cunningham describes it:

“Shipping first-time code is like going into debt. A little debt speeds development so long as it is paid back promptly with a rewrite … The danger occurs when the debt is not repaid. Every minute spent on not-quite-right code counts as interest on that debt. Entire engineering organisations can be brought to a stand-still under the debt load of an unconsolidated implementation.”

But there is a third kind of debt: Organizational Debt. Here we pay interest on bad decisions of decisions that we put off. This, of course, has a strong impact on organisations.

Some definitions of Organizational Debt

In organizational debt is like technical debt but worse Steve Blank gives this definition:

Organizational debt is all the people/culture compromises made to “just get it done” in the early stages of a startup.

However, I think that organisational debt isn’t a startup thing. It is worse in other organisations since there is a large accumulation of bad decisions and decisions not taken. Besides that larger and/or older organisations tend to have more rules to work around.

That is why I like the shorter description offered by Scoot Belsky in Avoiding Organizational Debt:

Organisational debt is the accumulation of changes that leaders should have made but didn’t.

Another interesting description is given by Aaron Dignan in How to eliminate organizational debt

The interest companies pay when their structure and policies stay fixed and/or accumulate as the world changes.

This one really goes from the VUCA point. The ever changing world in which organizations have to adapt or are to be extinct.

De winkel langer open

Vanaf eind augustus is de winkel langer open. Zoals je in de afbeelding kan zien is het maar een kleine aanpassing in de front-end/website. Zoals met veel fulfillment aanpassingen zit er een hele wereld van planning en operatie achter om dit ook daadwerkelijk voor elkaar te krijgen.
Bol.com de winkel langer open 2359
Je kunt je voorstellen er samen met warehousing en transport partners en de logistieke operatie van alles geregeld moest worden om deze nieuwe belofte waar te maken. Want de winkel langer open, betekent ook dat mensen langer moeten werken etc.
Daarnaast waren er ook diverse aanpassingen nodig in diverse IT systemen. Denk hierbij aan de bepaling bij welke producten deze belofte wel of niet waar gemaakt kan worden.

Building the next generation webanalytics solution

At this year Berlin Buzzwords our colleague Niels Basjes presented out next generation webanalytics solution. Internally this solution is called measuring 2.0.

To help the customers find what they want in our web shop we want to serve personalized content. To do this we need to understand what products/promotions we showed them and which of those made them happy. However in the fine grained personalization that has been introduced over the last few years we see that just measuring ‘what page’ we showed – like all the standard web analytics systems do – is no longer enough. So we need something different. In order to get a solution that will support our business for the coming years we raised the bar to the top: Measure everything and analyse in near-realtime.

Next generation webanalytics solution

Here is the video of Niels’s presentation:

The slides are here: next generation webanalytics solution.

Presenting on pragmatic microservices GOTO Night Thursday, May 12, 2016

goto nights pragmatic microservicesOn Thursday, May 12, 2016 I will be presenting on pragmatic microservices at the GOTO Night organised at bol.com. The presentation will be the support act for Randy Shoup. Check some of his previous presentations on SlideShare.

Pragmatic microservices

We have been around in e-commerce for years. However compared to other companies we’re young. Some would say we are in the scale up phase. In a number of ways we are experiencing a rapid growth. What does our IT need to stay innovative and scale to enable all this? What are the tradeoffs that are made for innovation in IT?

This year we won the Best Web Shop award because of our “efforts to get the difficult to achieve basics right that make the difference for customers”. IT has a large role in achieving this, at the scale of a web shop like bol.com. Did (micro)service make the difference to achieve this?

At bol.com we have a pragmatic, business value driven approach to (micro)services. In this presentation we share insights and the tradeoffs we made so IT enables to scale and innovate.

Presentation Pragmatic (Micro)Services

Here is the presentation I used:

ScaleScale on the stack behind Netflix scaling

Over at ScaleScale, a blog about all the good stuff when it comes to scaling, an interesting post was published on the stack behind Netflix scaling. Since Netflix is quite public about how they operate, the post put was together with stuff from around the internet.

Stack Behind Netflix Scaling Like Spotify Netflix is kind of famous for creating and scaling their culture. This gives some important context to the culture to understand how they scale their software stack and why it works. If you are interested in scaleable platforms and full stack development check it out.

Presentatie op LAC congres – De architect tussen 35 scrum teams in de 90e sprint…

Op woensdag 25 en donderdag 26 november is de 17e editie Landelijk Architectuur Congres. Net als vorig jaar ga ik in de track Agile Architecting een presentatie geven over architectuur en architecten in een Agile omgeving. De titel van de presentatie dit jaar is: De architect tussen 35 scrum teams in de 90e sprint…

De realisatie van software gebeurt steeds vaker agile. Dit vraagt ook iets van de architect en de architectuur. Software wordt steeds sneller en frequenter naar productie gebracht. Wat betekent dit voor de architect? De hoeveelheid data die verwerkt moet worden door de IT systemen blijft groeien. En nu? Bij bol.com zijn we op weg naar de 100e sprint met inmiddels zo’n 35 scrum teams. Aan de hand van voorbeelden laten we zien hoe we hier bij bol.com mee omgaan en hoe de architect en de architectuur steeds meer volwassen worden.

Bij bol.com hebben we inmiddels heel wat ervaring opgedaan met scrum, Agile architectuur en het schalen van scrum en Agile. In de presentatie zal ik ervaringen delen uit de realisatie van een nieuwe voorraadservice, Logistiek via bol.com, Vandaag Ophalen en de lopende realisatie van ons nieuwe fulfillment center.

Business Intelligence en Big Data bij bol.com

Naast mijn presentatie over Agile architectuur, verzorgt mijn collega Wieneke Keller een presentatie over Business Intelligence en Big Data bij bol.com in de track data science voor architecten:

bol.com groeit stevig door. In onze (micro) service architectuur proberen we deze groei te faciliteren. Belangrijk is dat we inzicht houden in de kwaliteit van onze processen. Bij bol.com doen we dit door big data technologieën in te zetten binnen het BI domein. Zo kunnen we de groeiende hoeveelheden data en databronnen eenvoudig toegankelijk en beheersbaar houden. In deze presentatie wordt toegelicht hoe we dit doen. Ook zullen andere toepassingen van big data bij bol.com worden besproken.

Finding billion dollar startups in Europe

The WSJ billion dollar startup club

The Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones VentureSource are tracking venture-backed private companies valued at $1 billion or more. This group of companies is called the billion dollar club.

The infographic created by the WSJ can be used to track how the membership of this club evolves and what the valuation of these companies individual and as a group is. In line with the findings in the Digital Evolution Index there is a limited number of European companies in the club and their number and valuation aren’t growing as fast as Asia and USA ones.

In January 2014 only 2 of the 42 companies in the billion dollar club are from Europe. In September 2015 just 10 of the 118 are European based companies. Here is the list of billion dollar startups in Europe:

  • Spotify
  • Global Fashion Group
  • Delivery Hero
  • Powa
  • Adyen – Read: The unicorn of Amsterdam
  • BlaBlaCar
  • Klarna
  • Home24
  • Shazam
  • Farfetch
  • Funding Circle

Rocket Internet and Zalando exited the list in October 2014 because of their IPOs. All are located in the countries with the best internet infrastructure: United Kingdom (London), Sweden, Germany, The Netherlands, Luxembourg and France.

The TechCrunch billion dollar startup club

Besides WSJ and Dow Jones VentureSource TechCrunch also curates a list of Unicorns. A Unicorn being a private company with a post-money valuations of $1 billion or more. The TechCrunch Unicorn Leaderboard features one European company that isn’t listed at the WSJ’s list: Auto1 Group from Berlin, Germany.

The picture in both leader boards is the same: there is a relative low number of billion dollar European startups. It is the same in the emerging Unicorns list.

Does Europe fall behind?

Looking at both the WSJ and TechCrunch list of unicorns and the findings in the Digital Evolution Index it certainly looks like Europe is falling behind. If the EU wouldn’t agree why would they have bothered to start a digital agenda (a Europe 2020 initiative)?

Thomas Petersen has written Why is Europe failing to create more unicorns? Mainly stating that there is no true single European market, the EU doesn’t make it better for entrepreneurs (yet worse because of legislation and political sub optimisations), and there is geolocation where both money and technical knowledge gravitate to.

Besides those, there is a reason that al European unicorns are situated in the countries with the best internet infrastructure. Larger parts of Europe aren’t in that position yet.
Some of the European countries with unicorns are in the stall out group in the DESI index. Meaning that measures should be taken to get their momentum back because they run the risk of falling behind.
Again Europe should work really hard on creating a true single digital European market. Reducing the number of laws and trade barriers is key.

VUCA – Volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity

Recognising that change is the only constant, shows us the path to VUCA. VUCA is the acronym for volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. VUCA stems from military vocabulary and has been emerging in ideas on strategic leadership. The 4 elements of VUCA offer a context in which organisations view their current and future state. On a strategic level who isn’t interested in preparing for a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous future?

There is an easy overview of VUCA on HBR.

Volatility

Volatility basically means that things tend to vary often and widely. The word comes from the Latin word volare, which means “to fly”. In a world were things seem to change faster and faster, stability can’t be attained. During the financial crises and economic turmoil of the last years people kept asking: “When will things be stable again?”. Could be that unstable and turbulence are here to stay.

Uncertainty

In past decades we build our lives on certainties and security. There were things that we could always count on. Nowadays, the uncertainties and the level of uncertainty keeps growing. Think of the economy, technology, whether companies will survive, how markets will evolve. In all these fields things are happening that very few of us have imagined only a decade ago.

What happens in our world and business gets harder and harder to predict. Known cause and effect relations need reevaluation and seem to have turned more complex and with a larger number of factors. We have to dig deeper to solve these unknown cause and effect relations.

Complexity

To properly understand the world we live in and perform our business we have to move beyond lineair models. Although models are getting better, they are based on an overwhelming number of interconnected parts and variables. This to such an extend that even though computers running these model have become better and faster, results and predictions haven’t. Think of the search for better medicines: the money invested is growing incredibly faster than the results we’re getting. Check eroom’s law (Moore’s law reversed) “the cost of developing a new drug doubles every nine years”.

Ambiguity

Ambiguity basically means that you can interpret a thing or situation in more than one way. The explanation and/or interpretation depends on context. This demands us to look at the whole picture to understand what lays in front of us. There is an unclear cause and effect. We can’t come up with a straight answer. There is a strong need for interpretation in context.