Engineering the Future of Software
Feb 3–4, 2019: Training
Feb 4–6, 2019: Tutorials & Conference
New York, NY
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The Goldilocks zone of lightweight architectural governance

Jonny LeRoy (ThoughtWorks)
2:15pm–3:05pm Tuesday, February 5, 2019
Enterprise architecture
Location: Trianon Ballroom
Secondary topics:  Best Practice, Overview
Average rating: ****.
(4.12, 16 ratings)

Who is this presentation for?

  • Technology leaders, vice presidents of engineering, CTOs, and enterprise architects



Prerequisite knowledge

  • An understanding of how your organization attempts to handle technical governance and oversight

What you'll learn

  • Learn how to balance organizational alignment with team autonomy


Organizations are shifting from centralized control and planning to adaptive approaches focusing on time to market, delegated autonomy and freedom to experiment. In this new world, we’re seeing two different failure modes: the first is hierarchical command and control from ivory tower architects with strict lists of approved tools and rigorous control gates for design reviews at various stages; at the opposite end of the spectrum is chaos, with every team doing whatever they want and close to zero governance.

Jonny LeRoy explores the “Goldilocks” zone that makes sure organizational risks and opportunities are handled while still giving teams as much autonomy as possible within those constraints. Drawing on ThoughtWorks’s recent client experience, Jonny delves into some of the strategies and approaches for creating the Goldilocks zone of lightweight governance, including automating compliance; focusing on vision, principles, and constraints; enrolling gatekeepers as collaborators; paved roads and the pit of success; using a tech radar as a lightweight governance tool; and ADRs for visibility. Along the way, Jonny discusses how to help architects become comfortable with evolution, the org design implications, how to be responsive to skill levels on teams, and how to think about innovation zones.

Photo of Jonny LeRoy

Jonny LeRoy


Jonny LeRoy is head of technology in North America at ThoughtWorks, where he’s responsible for championing and progressing the company’s brand as an outstanding technology organization for its clients, employees, and the industry at large. Jonny is tasked with expanding the surface area of new technology offerings and capabilities that ThoughtWorks can bring to the market while maintaining and progressing the culture and craft that lies at the company’s core. He championed the introduction of mobile and IoT capabilities into the business and is currently shepherding the embedding of security thinking and practices into the software delivery culture. He’s a vociferous participant in framing and progressing ThoughtWorks’s technology strategy, with particular focus on ensuring that the wider societal consequences of technological progress are factored in. A technology generalist with expertise in helping organizations become more effective at using software to their strategic advantage, Jonny has advised clients across many sectors on architecture, delivery, collaboration, innovation, and organizational design. He started as a software developer, but during his 13 years at ThoughtWorks, he’s played delivery, advisory, commercial, and operational roles. Previously, Jonny was a founder and CTO of a successful UK startup. A self-taught technologist, Jonny draws on his diverse intellectual background, which includes studying ancient languages and philosophy at university and training as a lawyer.