Home Economics Building Evolutionary Architectures: Support Constant Change
Architects can operationalize these techniques for building an evolutionary architecture in three steps:
Identify Dimensions Affected by Evolution
First, architects must identify which dimensions of the architecture they want to protect as it evolves. This always includes technical architecture, and usually things like data design, security, scalability, and the other “-ilities” architects have deemed important. This must involve other interested teams within the organization, including business, operations, security, and other affected parties. The Inverse Conway Maneuver (described in “Conway’s Law”) is helpful here because it encourages multirole teams. Basically, this is the the common behavior of architects at the onset of projects when identifying the architectural characteristics they want to support.
Define Fitness Function(s) for Each Dimension
A single dimension often contains numerous fitness functions. For example, architects commonly wire a collection of code metrics into the deployment pipeline to ensure architectural characteristics of the code base, such as preventing component dependency cycles. Architects document decisions about which dimensions deserve ongoing attention in a lightweight format such as a wiki. Then, for each dimension, they decide what parts may exhibit undesirable behavior when evolving, eventually defining fitness functions. Fitness functions may be automated or manual, and ingenuity will be necessary in some cases.
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