The goal of our Architect role is to align IT with the course of business, and being that almost every business has been challenged as a consequence of the current economic slowdown, we—as architects—are challenged to make our architectures follow the pace of business that these days is particularly changeable and unstable.

The Architecture Journal
June 2009
Issue 20

June 2009
Architecture in Turbulent Times
Letter from the Editor
Architecture in Turbulent Times

Dear Architect,

Let’s start with the basics: the goal of our Architect role is to align IT with the course of business. So far, so good, eh? So, being that almost every business has been challenged as a consequence of the current economic slowdown, we—as architects—are challenged to make our architectures follow the pace of business that these days is particularly changeable and unstable.

We thought that we had a clear understanding of the rules corresponding to the latest scenario. Having made a plan to face it, and being in the middle of the execution, we’re told that the organization must now implement further changes to keep business going. The results of the last quarter were known, and growth expectations were revised to lower—perhaps negative—numbers.

This issue of The Architecture Journal won’t tell you when this meltdown will end or whether we’ll have kept our jobs. It will, however, share architecture strategies, IT behaviors, and—for sure—success stories. I counted on the invaluable collaboration of Mike Walker as guest editor for this issue. Mike wrote the opening article, which details how architects can add value back to the business during climates as particular as the current one. He and the other authors are architects like you and me: they didn’t live during the Great Depression and, even if they had, technology in general and IT architecture as a discipline were slightly different from what they are today. They were suddenly challenged, and they responded to those challenges. Now, they tell us how they are succeeding. I hope you’ll find both inspiration and courage in these pages.

By the way, as announced in the last issue, we keep adding features to the Journal to take advantage of its now mainstream digital format. We‘ve introduced a “Follow Up” section at the end of any article that has references for going further with implementation.

This issue, we’re introducing the “guest columnist” concept. You’ll find that an article comes with one, two, or even three guest columnists. We intend to widen coverage on a given topic by offering different perspectives and voices. We’re not yet done with these new features. Also, for those of you who are interested in receiving a printed version, we’re still working on a print on-demand model.

By chance, are you interested in writing an article for the Journal? We just finished a call for papers on “SOA at the end of the decade,” and we thank all of you who participated in that call. You can learn about a future call for papers by subscribing to The Architecture Journal newsletter, which you can do by visiting The Architecture Journal Web site.

As always, you can let us know your opinions directly by e-mailing us.


Diego Dagum
Editor-in-Chief
Contents
 
By Mike Walker (Microsoft).
A review of how the crisis is changing the business agenda, how architectural priorities are altered as a consequence, and a method for maximizing architecture decisions.
 
By Simon Thurman (Microsoft) and Phil Rowland (Capgemini UK).
An exploration of the attributes that drive a decision, high-order considerations, forces that may influence the process, and how to extract a conclusion after a balanced analysis.
 
By Rodney Guzman (InterKnowlogy).
Lessons learned from a concrete case study on how a real software shop delivers on time, even with changing definitions (for instance, those taken under pressure these days), and keeping customers and employees so satisfied that they don’t think about leaving you.
 
By Martin Sykes (Microsoft) and Brad Clayton (Microsoft).
How Microsoft prioritizes its project portfolio to maximize return on investment (ROI), determining the projects that should receive budget and resource allocation.
 
By Matt Valentine (Microsoft).
Mindsets, practices, and an invaluable set of illustrative real-world case studies to help understand that progress isn’t but the consequence of a former stagnation.
 
By Leandro Sgallari (TI Sistemas).
A review of the multiple virtualization techniques that allow you to get more for less. This article quantifies the margins to be saved, as no other articles on virtualization have done.
 
By Peter Williams (dezineforce) and Simon Cox (dezineforce).
A real-world story of a company that switched from manufacturing and delivering a solution hosted entirely by its customers on an expensive infrastructure, to offering the application as a service, with the consequent cost reduction for its customers.
 
MSDN Mag, June
TechNet Mag, June
p&p Summit, 2009
If you are a software architect or developer who is passionate about mastering your craft, you should register now to attend the next patterns & practices Summit, October 12-16th at the Microsoft Conference Center in Redmond, Washington.
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