This page contains information on material I wrote or presented in the past. Refer to my new company website for more recent information.
Software Systems Architecture
See the architecture page for information on my architecture book.
OK, this is a bit of a cheat since it is not by me but by my son!
I gave two presentations at the BCS SPA conference 2007 in March 2007.
Eoin Woods and I ran a workshop called The Shape of Survival: Strategies and Patterns for Systems Continuity. Our participants identified architectural strategies and patterns for ensuring the survival of their systems and IT infrastructure in the face of failure, disruption or disaster. Here's the abstract:
Recent changes to company law in Europe and the US mean that business continuity (that is, the ability of an organisation to continue to function in the event of a disaster or other disruption) is now a key concern. The role of IT in achieving business continuity is to ensure that critical systems achieve high availabilty (HA) in normal operation, and that in the case of disastrous failure, the crucial parts of the IT environment can be reliably and swiftly recovered to remote sites using a disaster recovery (DR) plan.
This has a significant implications for architects since these qualities must be designed into systems and infrastructures from the outset - it is very difficult to add such capabilities later on in the development lifecycle, or worse still, after deployment.
This session will explore possible solutions for high availability and disaster recovery, and how they can be combined to address possible threats that are faced by today's IT systems and infrastructure.
You can a copy of our presentation here.
Anti-Patterns of Project Execution
Andy Longshaw and I ran a workshop wittily entitled Methodology Used on Project, Not Many Dead: Anti-patterns for project execution and how to avoid them.
Our objective was to get the participants to identify "anti-patterns of project execution" (undesirable behaviours which lead projects into disaster) and explore how we could "refactor" these into behaviours which lead to success. Here's the abstract:
Use of a software development methodology, whether it's based on waterfall, iterative or agile approaches, is now mandatory on most software development projects. However in our experience, these methodologies are almost universally loathed and derided by all concerned - sponsor, users, management and developers. At best, the project is successful in spite of the use of the methodology, rather than because of it, and at worst, the project suffers delays, descoping, quality issues and sometimes even cancellation.
In this workshop we will identify some of the undesirable behaviours which tend to subvert the successful application of a methodology - "anti-patterns of project execution" - such as analysis paralysis, methodology kerplunk , governance façade, zombie march, and the ball and chain of responsibility. We will then work as a group to work out why we end up with these. (For example, a practice may have been useful in some form of project when the methodology was first developed - we will look at why it might have been useful then, but not on the project where it was observed as an anti-pattern.)
We will then decide whether these practices should be dropped or adapted ("refactored") in particular project contexts (skills, size, system type, budget and timescale constraints etc.) - based on what actually works in the experience of the presenters and the session attendees.
Our goal is not to come up with an "uber-methodology" which is applicable to any project, but rather to understand how better to apply the methodologies we've got, how to identify those parts of them which are genuinely valuable to your particular project and those which can be ignored, and recognise anti-patterns early on and change course before it's too late.
You can a copy of our presentation and the raw material we captured here.
This arose from our continuing frustration with trying to use UML (which is primarily an object-oriented software design notation) to describe software architectures. During the workshop we attempted to identify the key requirements of a language for describing software architectures, and consider how (or if) UML is lacking as a solution to them. Our audience then attempted to improve on UML by sketching their own visual language for defining software architectures.
You can find more details here.