Engineering the Future of Software
April 10–11, 2016: Training
April 11–13, 2016: Conference
New York, NY

Architecture without an end state

Michael Nygard (Cognitect)
2:15pm–3:05pm Tuesday, 04/12/2016
Integration architecture
Location: Grand Ballroom West Level: Intermediate
Average rating: **...
(2.86, 7 ratings)

Prerequisite knowledge

Interest in the arrows between the boxes is crucial.


You’ve seen them. In fact, you’ve probably even made one. Architecture vision diagrams: the block diagrams, the message bus topologies. . .But how many of these diagrams ever actually get built?

We never really finish constructing one of these grand visions before something interferes. Maybe it’s a merger or acquisition. Maybe your company has a regime change. (After all, the average tenure of a CIO is down to 18 months.) Regardless, the “end state” vision never gets built.

Michael Nygard explains why we should instead focus on flexing and changing by incorporating new technology, new principles, new business models, and even the previous generation’s legacy. Call it agile architecture, meta-architecture, or “how I learned to love laminated stucco.” It’s architecture without an end state.

Photo of Michael Nygard

Michael Nygard


Michael Nygard is an architect at Cognitect, the company behind Clojure, ClojureScript, Pedestal, and Datomic. Michael has been a professional programmer and architect for over 15 years. In that time, he has delivered systems to the US government, the military, and the banking, finance, agriculture, and retail industries, and his work has spanned domains as diverse as B2B exchanges, retail commerce sites, travel and leisure sites, an information brokerage, and applications for the military and intelligence communities. Along the way, Michael has shared his painfully won experience by mentoring, writing, and speaking. Michael contributed to the O’Reilly book 97 Things Every Software Architect Should Know and authored the best seller Release It! Design and Deploy Production-Ready Software.