Kevlin Henney and Klaus Marquardt

SE Radio 142: Sustainable Architecture with Kevlin Henney and Klaus Marquardt

Recording Venue: OOP 2009
Guest(s): Kevlin Henney and Klaus Marquardt
Host(s): Markus
This is another episode recorded at OOP 2009, thanks to SIGS Datacom and programme chair Frances Paulisch for making this possible. Here is the abstract from the conference program: Many software systems have fragile architectures that are based on brittle assumptions or rigid architectures that reduce options and make change difficult. On the one hand, an architecture needs to be fit for the present day, suitable for immediate use, and on the other it needs to accommodate the future, absorbing reasonable uncertainty. However, an approach that is overly focused on today’s needs and nothing more can create an inflexible architecture. An approach that becomes obsessed with possible future changes creates an overly complex architecture that is unfit for both today’s and tomorrow’s needs. Both approaches encourage an early descent into legacy for a system. The considerations presented in this talk reflect an approach that is more about thinking in the continuous present tense than just the present or the future tense. This includes principles from lean thinking, practices common in agile processes and techniques for loosely coupled design.

Show Notes


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  • Hi SE Radio team,

    first of all thanks for all the excellent work. I am really enjoying your podcasts.
    As this is my first comment I hope it does not seem too negative. This episode was rather disappointing. Maybe, I should not go so far but I consider it one of the worst 5 episodes you ever produced. As you mentioned as moderator Kevlin and Klaus failed to come to the point. What exactly does it need to come up with a sustainable architecture and what does it mean. Sure, it depends …. 🙂 But this is a weak excuse from my viewpoint. I think, you can prepare an architecture to be sustainable by at least figuring out some kinds of variability. For instance, there might be some variability points where you definitely know your system will have to grow or change in the future. Predicting the future might be hard but sometimes it is possible. Otherwise all work on MDSD, Product Lines, Platforms or Frameworks would not make any sense, right?

    Again, thanks for your marvellous podcasts. As I ofeten her them when running, I have become a real athlet 🙂

    Best regards

  • Good afternoon,

    I am quite disappointed after listening to the podcast.

    From a management point of view, the tendency to postpone architectural decisions is a recipe for disaster. I would have expected some pearls of wisdom how to identify the right point in time for a decision, the types of decisions you have to do early, methods to understand the impact of possible evolution paths, and analysis and creativity tools to find the right architecture. Sustainability of a software system in many cases is a question of discussing today’s cost and benefits versus future costs and benefits. There was not really an answer to those questions in the podcast.

    Conceptual discussions about the properties of a sustainable architecture? Despite Markus trying to get a word about architecture (“so, you got components”), Kevlin and Klaus again and again escaped into management territory. And for them. that seems to be a foreign land.

    I believe that we made a lot of progress in understanding sustainability of architectures during the last ten years. We are much better in separating slow moving and fast moving parts of an architecture, have a better knowledge about separating concerns and we understand a lot more about designing and implementing software in a way that matches the characteristics of a domain. I am still looking forward to an episode that ties those pieces together. And to an episode that explains how to manage conceptual work such as developing an architecture.

    Best Regards


  • I’ve only just discovered SE radio, and there have been some excellent episodes so far, but I found listening to Kevlin and Klaus wonderfully entertaining and informative.

    There are any number of books and articles proposing, evangelising and just plain selling one architectural style or another; this was something different and I found the consideration given to the ecosystem of business, people, process and technology really valuable.


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