Architecture Governance podcast notes

(Emailed on Feb 24, 2019)

Hi everyone,

This is a great podcast that very much aligns with my approach with leading architecture at edX.  I'd love for each of us to listen to this so we are conceptually in synch on the approach and governance model. Give it a listen and we can discuss if there are questions or other perspectives.

  • What is Governance?

    • Framework that guides technical decision making

    • Enablement and empowerment, not Control

    • Alignment of founding principles influenced by the business vision and understanding organizational risk

    • Allows for effectiveness and efficiency by sharing learnings and big picture

    • Impact of local decisions doesn’t negatively affect others

  • What it's not?

    • In the past, we created multi-year plans. Now, we need to evolve with unpredictability.

    • "Department of No" - if governance is done poorly.

  • Governance tools

    • Vision and Principles

    • Lightweight communication tools

      • Architectural Decision Records (ADRs)

      • Tech Radar

        • Effective, at-a-glance view of principles and technologies that we are adopting, assessing, and holding.

      • Limit WIP on the number of things being "assessed" (are we experimenting enough or too much?)

    • Automation and Testability - quality, performance, security, etc.

      • note that the Evolutionary Arch book calls this "Fitness functions"

    • Embed on teams traditional gatekeepers

    • Outcomes-focused metrics

      • Optimizing both at the local and global levels, without stifling innovation

      • Examples:

        • Onboarding time for new hires and between teams

        • Attracting and retaining engineers

        • Ease of change

        • Local level: code complexity, etc.

  • Organizational structure 

    • Inverted org - A small team at the "bottom" that enables others

    • Respecting polyglot autonomy

    • Extremes: Too restrictive vs no rigor

  • Paved road/runway - staying on the supported runway for most development; can go off of the road for experimentation or custom requirements.

Note: One thing they did not emphasize is the educational effort on teaching about design/architecture, but that may be assumed from the need to communicate principles and vision.