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Simon Brown

Independent Consultant

Structurizr Limited

Jersey

Simon is an independent consultant specialising in software architecture, and the author of “Software Architecture for Developers” - a developer-friendly guide to software architecture, technical leadership and the balance with agility. He is also the creator of the C4 model for visualising software architecture and the founder of Structurizr, a collection of tooling to help software teams visualise, document and explore their software architecture. Simon is a regular speaker at international software development conferences, and teaches software architecture to organisations worldwide.

Talks at YOW!

Visualising software architecture with the C4 model - YOW! 2019 Sydney

It's very likely that the majority of the software architecture diagrams you've seen are a confused mess of boxes and lines. Following the publication of the Manifesto for Agile Software Development in 2001, teams have abandoned UML, discarded the concept of modeling and instead place a heavy reliance on conversations centered around incoherent whiteboard diagrams or shallow 'Marketecture' diagrams created with Visio. Moving fast and being agile requires good communication, yet software development teams struggle with this fundamental skill. A good set of software architecture diagrams are priceless for aligning a team around a shared vision and for getting new-joiners productive quickly.

This hands-on workshop explores the visual communication of software architecture, based upon a decade of my experiences working with software development teams large and small across the globe. We'll look at what is commonplace today, the importance of creating a shared vocabulary, diagram notation, and the value of creating a lightweight model to describe your software system. The workshop is based upon the C4 model, which I created as a way to help software development teams describe and communicate software architecture, both during up-front design sessions and when retrospectively documenting an existing codebase. It's a way to create maps of your code, at various levels of detail. Static structure, runtime and deployment diagrams are all covered, so you'll be able to tell different stories to different audiences. We'll wrap up the day by looking at the tooling landscape and diagram automation to keep your diagrams in sync with your source code.

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The lost art of software design - YOW! 2019 Sydney

"Big design up front is dumb. Doing no design up front is even dumber." This quote epitomises what I've seen during our journey from "big design up front" in the 20th century, to "emergent design" and "evolutionary architecture" in the 21st. In their desire to become "agile", many teams seem to have abandoned architectural thinking, up front design, documentation, diagramming, and modelling. In many cases this is a knee-jerk reaction to the heavy bloated processes of times past, and in others it's a misinterpretation and misapplication of the agile manifesto. As a result, many of the software design activities I witness these days are very high-level and superficial in nature. The resulting output, typically an ad hoc sketch on a whiteboard, is usually ambiguous and open to interpretation, leading to a situation where the underlying solution can't be assessed or reviewed. If you're willing to consider that up front design is about creating a sufficient starting point, rather than creating a perfect end-state, you soon realise that a large amount of the costly rework and "refactoring" seen on many software development teams can be avoided. Join me for a discussion of the lost art of software design, and how we can reintroduce it.

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The lost art of software design - YOW! 2019 Brisbane

"Big design up front is dumb. Doing no design up front is even dumber." This quote epitomises what I've seen during our journey from "big design up front" in the 20th century, to "emergent design" and "evolutionary architecture" in the 21st. In their desire to become "agile", many teams seem to have abandoned architectural thinking, up front design, documentation, diagramming, and modelling. In many cases this is a knee-jerk reaction to the heavy bloated processes of times past, and in others it's a misinterpretation and misapplication of the agile manifesto. As a result, many of the software design activities I witness these days are very high-level and superficial in nature. The resulting output, typically an ad hoc sketch on a whiteboard, is usually ambiguous and open to interpretation, leading to a situation where the underlying solution can't be assessed or reviewed. If you're willing to consider that up front design is about creating a sufficient starting point, rather than creating a perfect end-state, you soon realise that a large amount of the costly rework and "refactoring" seen on many software development teams can be avoided. Join me for a discussion of the lost art of software design, and how we can reintroduce it.

Read More

Visualising software architecture with the C4 model - YOW! 2019 Melbourne

It's very likely that the majority of the software architecture diagrams you've seen are a confused mess of boxes and lines. Following the publication of the Manifesto for Agile Software Development in 2001, teams have abandoned UML, discarded the concept of modeling and instead place a heavy reliance on conversations centered around incoherent whiteboard diagrams or shallow 'Marketecture' diagrams created with Visio. Moving fast and being agile requires good communication, yet software development teams struggle with this fundamental skill. A good set of software architecture diagrams are priceless for aligning a team around a shared vision and for getting new-joiners productive quickly.

This hands-on workshop explores the visual communication of software architecture, based upon a decade of my experiences working with software development teams large and small across the globe. We'll look at what is commonplace today, the importance of creating a shared vocabulary, diagram notation, and the value of creating a lightweight model to describe your software system. The workshop is based upon the C4 model, which I created as a way to help software development teams describe and communicate software architecture, both during up-front design sessions and when retrospectively documenting an existing codebase. It's a way to create maps of your code, at various levels of detail. Static structure, runtime and deployment diagrams are all covered, so you'll be able to tell different stories to different audiences. We'll wrap up the day by looking at the tooling landscape and diagram automation to keep your diagrams in sync with your source code.

Read More

The lost art of software design - YOW! 2019 Melbourne

"Big design up front is dumb. Doing no design up front is even dumber." This quote epitomises what I've seen during our journey from "big design up front" in the 20th century, to "emergent design" and "evolutionary architecture" in the 21st. In their desire to become "agile", many teams seem to have abandoned architectural thinking, up front design, documentation, diagramming, and modelling. In many cases this is a knee-jerk reaction to the heavy bloated processes of times past, and in others it's a misinterpretation and misapplication of the agile manifesto. As a result, many of the software design activities I witness these days are very high-level and superficial in nature. The resulting output, typically an ad hoc sketch on a whiteboard, is usually ambiguous and open to interpretation, leading to a situation where the underlying solution can't be assessed or reviewed. If you're willing to consider that up front design is about creating a sufficient starting point, rather than creating a perfect end-state, you soon realise that a large amount of the costly rework and "refactoring" seen on many software development teams can be avoided. Join me for a discussion of the lost art of software design, and how we can reintroduce it.

Read More

Software Architecture for Developers - YOW! 2017 Sydney

The software development industry has made huge leaps in recent years; with agile, lean, software craftsmanship, evolutionary design and microservices being just a few of the buzzwords we throw around. Despite this, software development teams are often more chaotic than they are self-organising, with the resulting code being more of a mess than was perhaps anticipated. Successful software projects aren't just about good code though, and sometimes you need to step away from the IDE for a few moments to see the bigger picture. This session is about that bigger picture and is aimed at software developers who want to learn more about software architecture, technical leadership and the balance with agility.

This talk will debunk some of the common myths as we look at five things every developer should know about software architecture; a guide to software architecture on modern software projects that's pragmatic rather than academic and lightweight rather than "enterprisey".

Read More

Software Architecture for Developers - YOW! 2017 Brisbane

The software development industry has made huge leaps in recent years; with agile, lean, software craftsmanship, evolutionary design and microservices being just a few of the buzzwords we throw around. Despite this, software development teams are often more chaotic than they are self-organising, with the resulting code being more of a mess than was perhaps anticipated. Successful software projects aren't just about good code though, and sometimes you need to step away from the IDE for a few moments to see the bigger picture. This session is about that bigger picture and is aimed at software developers who want to learn more about software architecture, technical leadership and the balance with agility.

This talk will debunk some of the common myths as we look at five things every developer should know about software architecture; a guide to software architecture on modern software projects that's pragmatic rather than academic and lightweight rather than "enterprisey".

Read More

Software Architecture for Developers - YOW! 2017 Melbourne

The software development industry has made huge leaps in recent years; with agile, lean, software craftsmanship, evolutionary design and microservices being just a few of the buzzwords we throw around. Despite this, software development teams are often more chaotic than they are self-organising, with the resulting code being more of a mess than was perhaps anticipated. Successful software projects aren't just about good code though, and sometimes you need to step away from the IDE for a few moments to see the bigger picture. This session is about that bigger picture and is aimed at software developers who want to learn more about software architecture, technical leadership and the balance with agility.

This talk will debunk some of the common myths as we look at five things every developer should know about software architecture; a guide to software architecture on modern software projects that's pragmatic rather than academic and lightweight rather than "enterprisey".

Read More

Agility and the Essence of Software Architecture - YOW! 2014 Sydney

On one hand the software development industry is pushing forward, reinventing the way that we build software, striving for agility and craftsmanship at every turn. On the other though, we’re continually forgetting the good of the past and software teams are still failing on an alarmingly regular basis. Software architecture plays a pivotal role in the delivery of successful software yet it’s often neglected. Whether performed by one person or shared amongst the team, the software architecture role exists on even the most agile of teams yet the balance of up front and evolutionary thinking often reflects aspiration rather than reality. By steering away from big up front design and ivory tower architects, many teams now struggle to create a consistent, shared technical vision to work from. This can result in chaos, big balls of mud or software that still fails to meet its goals, despite continuous user involvement.

This talk will explore the importance of software architecture and the consequences of not thinking about it, before introducing some lightweight techniques to bring the essence of software architecture back into an agile environment. We’ll look at creating a shared vision within the development team, effectively communicating that vision and managing technical risk. I’ll also share the strategies that I’ve used to introduce these techniques into agile teams, even those that didn’t think that they needed them.

Read More

Agility and the Essence of Software Architecture - YOW! 2014 Brisbane

On one hand the software development industry is pushing forward, reinventing the way that we build software, striving for agility and craftsmanship at every turn. On the other though, we’re continually forgetting the good of the past and software teams are still failing on an alarmingly regular basis. Software architecture plays a pivotal role in the delivery of successful software yet it’s often neglected. Whether performed by one person or shared amongst the team, the software architecture role exists on even the most agile of teams yet the balance of up front and evolutionary thinking often reflects aspiration rather than reality. By steering away from big up front design and ivory tower architects, many teams now struggle to create a consistent, shared technical vision to work from. This can result in chaos, big balls of mud or software that still fails to meet its goals, despite continuous user involvement.

This talk will explore the importance of software architecture and the consequences of not thinking about it, before introducing some lightweight techniques to bring the essence of software architecture back into an agile environment. We’ll look at creating a shared vision within the development team, effectively communicating that vision and managing technical risk. I’ll also share the strategies that I’ve used to introduce these techniques into agile teams, even those that didn’t think that they needed them.

Read More

Agility and the Essence of Software Architecture - YOW! 2014 Melbourne

On one hand the software development industry is pushing forward, reinventing the way that we build software, striving for agility and craftsmanship at every turn. On the other though, we’re continually forgetting the good of the past and software teams are still failing on an alarmingly regular basis. Software architecture plays a pivotal role in the delivery of successful software yet it’s often neglected. Whether performed by one person or shared amongst the team, the software architecture role exists on even the most agile of teams yet the balance of up front and evolutionary thinking often reflects aspiration rather than reality. By steering away from big up front design and ivory tower architects, many teams now struggle to create a consistent, shared technical vision to work from. This can result in chaos, big balls of mud or software that still fails to meet its goals, despite continuous user involvement.

This talk will explore the importance of software architecture and the consequences of not thinking about it, before introducing some lightweight techniques to bring the essence of software architecture back into an agile environment. We’ll look at creating a shared vision within the development team, effectively communicating that vision and managing technical risk. I’ll also share the strategies that I’ve used to introduce these techniques into agile teams, even those that didn’t think that they needed them.

Read More