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Overview: IT architects of all persuasions are frequently challenged to embrace "agility" in three quite separate ways. Firstly, they may be working in an environment where development uses an agile approach, in which solutions are developed progressively and incrementally. While this is undoubtedly the best way to address many classes of problem, particularly those where the requirements, priorities or best solution are initially unclear, it may be seen as fundamentally opposed to good practice in the development and deployment of larger and more complex systems, which demand greater planning and control of their overall structure. The fear is always that an agile approach will allow the solution to grow in an uncontrolled fashion, creating elements which will be difficult to deploy or maintain. Major new requirements may frequently require major rework of an underlying architecture which was not itself flexible enough.
Secondly, the architects may themselves have to work in a more "agile" way, foregoing some of their more formal "end to end" processes and engaging their colleagues and clients in a more interactive and reactive fashion. Finally architects have to demonstrate that the architecture of the systems they deliver is "agile" in its ability to respond quickly and cleanly to future changes in the business environment. The challenges may range from relatively straightforward scaling of demand, to major disruptive changes in the business environment, but a truly agile architecture should be able to evolve to meet them. However understanding and articulating the limits of agility and the trade-offs with other solution and project characteristics is an important part of the architect's role.
This Webinar explores the role of the architect to meet these challenges, promoting agility in both the development process and the delivered solution. It explores how architects can adopt agile principles in their own work, and how they can work collaboratively to create agile models. An initial discussion of the Agile Architect's role will explore the objectives of the Agile Architect and the principles of Agile Architecture. Clear, concise and effective communication is key to the success of any architect, but becomes even more critical in an agile environment. At the same time, techniques such as "Agile Modelling" developed in the agile context may serve an architect well even when in a more formal setting.
The webinar will explore the importance of a well-understood, clear and unifying vision, and then how agile concepts apply to an enterprise or solution architecture and how to create agile models of the solution landscape and data architecture. The final section of the webinar deals with developing an architecture which is itself "agile", truly able to support and embrace change. Reviewing the multiple "dimensions of agility" will lead into discussion of techniques such as progressive enhancement, canonical data models, data and dataflow re-use, change isolation, rationalization and architecture refactoring. The importance of key design principles and a unifying vision will be explained.
This section will be based around a case study, the development and evolution of an agile integration architecture. This is the history of an enterprise-scale integration architecture which has flexibly supported over ten years of major developments at a leading UK utility company.
A round up will recap on the main points, and then present some questions challenging the attendees to assess for themselves "How Agile is Your Architecture?"
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Speaker Profile: Andrew Johnston