Aligning organizational and technical boundaries will be the most important responsibility of future architects. With compute becoming a utility, we’ve enjoyed the low-hanging fruit of technological advancements enabling faster software iterations. Nick Tune explains why we must now learn to codesign and coevolve teams and technical architectures to take the next big step to reduce lead times and build learning organizations.
A few cutting-edge organizations already demonstrate the cultural changes needed to achieve a highly aligned, Agile organization design. Unfortunately, most are reluctant to make significant organizational changes; instead, they chase the digital transformation hype and the Agile rituals while maintaining a waterfall organization design. Architects must take a lead in solving this problem.
Future architects will be fluent in strategic domain-driven design (DDD). More importantly, future architects will be experts in the theory of constraints (ToC). Future architects will combine DDD and ToC to create loosely coupled software services, owned by loosely coupled teams. The resulting boundaries will encapsulate products and technologies that change together for business reasons, dwindling costly interteam dependencies.
However, loose coupling alone can lead to silos. Future architects must also understand the need for fractal organization design, helping communication paths form between teams needing close collaboration to deliver business outcomes. High alignment between the right teams enables high autonomy within teams, accelerating the flow of work through organizations.
Nick Tune is a principal consultant at Empathy Software. A product-focused technical leader, Nick has helped teams in a variety of organizations to achieve continuous delivery and high alignment, including the UK government, Salesforce, and 7digital. He is the coauthor of Designing Autonomous Teams and Services (O’Reilly) and Patterns, Principles and Practices of Domain-Driven Design (Wrox). He blogs from Ntcoding.co.uk.
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