Last week I presented with some ThoughtWorks colleagues at the Australian Architecture Forum in Sydney and Melbourne. My topic was titled “No Nukes – don’t detonate your legacy software” covering approaches to incrementally replacing a legacy application. I was a bit shakey in Sydney – I’m not very comfortable with public speaking – but I felt much better about my delivery in Melbourne. All round a really great experience and I hope to do more of this kind of thing in the future. The topic definitely sparked some interesting conversations – maintaining and renovating legacy applications (sometimes not more than 18 months old…) is such a big part of what we do as an industry.
The forum itself was mostly interesting – I don’t really identify well with the title “Architect” although that is a large part of the work that I do. I find that most software architects seem to struggle to remain relevant as they get further divorced from project delivery. For this reason I found my colleague Gianny Damour’s discussion group on “The role of the architect on agile projects” most entertaining as he described architectural practices found to be questionable including “pretentious modelling”, “over technical design” and “ivory tower mentality”. It definitely sparked a healthy debate, especially the assertion that architects should code.
Much less amusing was a discussion group by the local chapter of the International Association of Software Architects that was preaching _certification_ as the answer to peer recognition of your mad architecting skillz. That and several hundred pages of an “IT architect skills library”. I think the secret architect handshake is detailed in UML 2.0 on page 259. Forgive my skepticism.
Overall though a successful forum – congratulations to the organisers!