Engineering the Future of Software
16–18 October 2017: Conference & Tutorials
18–19 October 2017: Training
London, UK

Beyond accidental architecture

James Thompson (Mavenlink)
15:5016:40 Monday, 16 October 2017
Business skills
Location: Park Suite (St. James / Regents)
Secondary topics:  Best Practice, Overview
Average rating: ***..
(3.73, 11 ratings)

Prerequisite Knowledge

  • Experience in a technical leadership role

What you'll learn

  • Understand how to identify the symptoms and causes of accidental architecture and redirect well-meaning culprits toward intentional design approaches
  • Discover activities, processes, and practices that increase deliberate architectural thinking and concern
  • Learn how to overcome resistance and hesitance to change


In many cases, existing architectures represent an accident of circumstances—big balls of mud that grow naturally anywhere there is a lack of deliberate architectural thinking and practice. James Thompson explains why you should move beyond the accidental and introduce intentional architectural thinking to your team, outlining the benefits of deliberate software architecture, from helping newer engineers understand why certain boundaries exist to enabling senior engineers to improve their skills and more. Emphasis will be given to how to implement many of the suggestions in a variety of team contexts and how to seek to turn skeptics into advocates. You’ll leave with a number of practical ways to help your teams overcome accidental architecture.

Topics include:

  • How accidental architecture happens
  • How to turn good intentions into intentionality
  • How to grow architectural mindfulness in a team
  • Processes to reinforce intentional architectural practices
  • How to overcome resistance to deliberate architecture
Photo of James Thompson

James Thompson


James Thompson is a principal software engineer at Mavenlink, where he is committed to helping engineering teams become more deliberate in how they build software through developing strong learning cultures, principled engineering practices, and holistic architectural thinking. He has worked with web technologies since 2003.

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Picture of James Thompson
19/10/2017 0:41 BST

For those who can’t open the Keynote presentation I provided to O’Reilly, here is a link to my deck on SlideShare:

Picture of James Thompson
16/10/2017 18:33 BST

Since I did not quite make it to discussing resources in the Q&A time, here are some of my recommendations that I think are great for book clubs in particular:

  • Domain-Driven Design by Eric Evans
  • Implementing Domain-Driven Design by Vaughn Vernon
  • Growing Object-Oriented Software: Guided by Tests by Steve Freeman
  • Extreme Programming Explained by Kent Beck
  • Design It!: From Programmer to Software Architect by Michael Keeling
  • Refactoring to Patterns by Joshua Kerievsky
  • Beyond Legacy Code by David Scott Bernstein
  • The Nature of Software Development by Ron Jeffries