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InfoQ Homepage News Presentation: Lessons Learned from Architecture Reviews

Presentation: Lessons Learned from Architecture Reviews


In this presentation, Rebecca Wirfs-Brock presents some practical lessons she has learned from doing architectural reviews. Many times projects are not delivered in time, or have quality problems or have an incomplete set of features due to architectural flaws. The reviews are meant to highlight existing risks and strengths of the architecture, and to reveal issues initially neglected.

The hardest to do 5 things Rebecca learned from reviews are:

  1. Rainy Day Scenarios. What do you do when things go wrong? Propose some rainy day scenarios with corresponding solutions.
  2. Merging Existing Systems. Many hidden requirements are in the heads of support or buried in custom code, which makes merging very difficult. Many times it is better to start clean with a new system rather than merging with another one.
  3. Describing Decisions. Try to explain the architectural decisions you made. That is easier to do with a constructive reviewer than with stakeholders.
  4. Overcoming Cognitive Biases. Cognitive biases are distortions in how people naturally tend to process and interpret information.
  5. Giving Advice that is Followed. The advice should come as recommendations, suggestions, and observations in a way that people listen to.

The entire presentation is 58 minutes long.

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Community comments

  • Thanks for sharing the experiences

    by Dinkar Gupta,

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    Thanks rebecca for sharing these lessons with us. I have noted all of these and am going to consider these while I undertake reviews of architecture or present my own architecture designs for review. we have also experienced some of these things mentioned by you - especially the first one. Majority of people consider architecture review (audit) as a means of validating the technology choices.

    it would be great if you can also share some of your experiences of design reviews of object oriented applications! This would be of great value considering majority of architects are regularly engaged in application designs using object oriened paradigm.

  • Cost versus good architecture

    by Prasanna Nippani,

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    This is a very good presentation. I have been looking for something like this for quite some time. I would like to learn from your experience on how to effectively deal with the situations where cost becomes a barrier to architecture.

  • Painful

    by Randall Cook,

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    There was about 20 minutes of content in this presentation, if that. The presentation style was poor, with the speaker exuding tension and nervousness. If the unit test I was running had finished sooner, I wouldn't have watched the whole thing.

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