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Architecture Without an End State

YOW! Singapore 2018 - 11 Sep

Architecture plans in enterprises tend to resemble late-night infomercials. First, you see a person or system that seems incapable of survival—a situation that can be immediately rectified if you just buy into the product. (One popular infomercial shows incompetent people mangling tomatoes transitioning into Ginsu-wielding sous chefs; the architecture pitch starts with hideous complexity then moves to clean orthogonal box diagrams.) Operators are always standing by.

Real architecture never reaches that blissful end state. Something always interrupts the program: businesses change, technology changes, or funding dries up. What would happen if you did reach the end state, anyway? Is IT in the company done? Of course not.

The truth is that there is no end state. We must all learn to build systems that evolve and grow. We need to stop aiming for the end state and understand that change is continuous. We cannot predict the details, but we can learn the general patterns.

Michael Nygard demonstrates how to design and architect systems that admit change—bending and flexing through time. Using a blend of information architecture, technical architecture, and some process change, Michael walks you through examples of rigid systems to show how to transform them into more maneuverable architecture.

Michael Nygard

Vice President of Enterprise Architecture


United States

Michael Nygard strives to raise the bar and ease the pain for developers around the world. He shares his passion and energy for improvement with everyone he meets, sometimes even with their permission. Living with systems in production taught Michael about the importance of operations and writing production-ready software. Highly-available, highly-scalable commerce systems are his forte.

Michael has written and co-authored several books, including "97 Things Every Software Architect Should Know" and the best seller "Release It!", a book about building software that survives the real world. He is a highly sought speaker who addresses developers, architects, and technology leaders around the world.

Michael is currently Vice President, Travel Solutions Platform Development Enterprise Architecture, for Sabre, the company reimaging the business of travel.

Workshop Details

Target Audience
Developers, architects or anyone working with medium to large architectures and building applications in the context of existing systems or transitioning to new systems.
Full day

Learning Outcomes

  • Learn how to design systems that can evolve over time in the face of technological and business change
  • Understand when the “single system of record” pattern applies and when it does not
  • Learn how to combine microservices with legacy systems
  • Learn to make your systems glide smoothly from web to mobile to chat apps
  • Find new ways to separate concerns for better information hiding
  • Learn about ways to isolate information to allow independent change
  • Learn how to build systems in simpler pieces that can be recombined and recomposed to enable new business capabilities, all without running afoul of YAGNI
  • Know why aiming for the “end state” never works and what to do about it


Familiarity with basic architecture principles, such as system boundary and separation of concerns