Simon is an independent consultant and helps organisations to build better software by adopting a lightweight, pragmatic approach to software architecture. He is the creator of the C4 software architecture model and the author of Software Architecture for Developers - a developer-friendly guide to software architecture, technical leadership and the balance with agility. Simon regularly speaks at software development conferences around the world and, in 2013, he won the IEEE Software sponsored SATURN 2013 "Architecture in Practice" Presentation Award for his presentation about the conflict between agile and architecture. Simon lives in Jersey (the largest of the Channel Islands) and his client list spans over 20 countries, including organisations ranging from small technology startups through to global household names. He still codes too.
I believe that a lightweight approach to software architecture is pivotal to successfully delivering software, and that it can complement agile approaches rather than compete against them. After all, a good architecture enables agility and this doesn't happen by magic. In a nutshell, my lightweight approach to software architecture includes doing "just enough" up front design to understand the significant structural elements of the software, some lightweight sketches to communicate that vision to the team and ensuring that the highest priority risks are identified and mitigated. I use a technique that I call Risk-storming as a visual and collaborative way to identify those risks. The code doesn't tell the whole story, so I deliver a lightweight software guidebook as supplementary documentation. The video of my "Software Architecture & the balance with agility" talk from the "Software Architect 2013" conference provides a good overview of my approach to software architecture.
Simple sketches for diagramming your software architecture summarises my "C4 model" for describing, visualising and communicating software architecture. It's a simple hierarchical way to think about the static structures of a software system in terms of containers, components and classes.
A software system is made up of one or more containers (web applications, mobile apps, standalone applications, databases, file systems, etc), each of which contains one or more components, which in turn are implemented by one or more classes.
Visualising this hierarchy is then done by creating a collection of system context, container, component and (optionally) class diagrams. For me, a common set of abstractions is more important than a common notation, so I don't use UML for most of this. Maps are a great example of this principle in action. They all tend to show roads, rivers, lakes, forests, towns, churches, etc but they often use different notation in terms of colour-coding, line styles, iconography, etc. The key to understanding them is exactly that, a key/legend tucked away in a corner somewhere. We can do the same with our software architecture diagrams or use a notation that is much more self-describing.
The C4 model forms a central part of my lightweight approach to software architecture, enabling...
The image that many people have of software architects is of traditional "ivory tower" software architects dictating instructions to an unsuspecting development team. It doesn't need to be like this though, with modern software architects preferring an approach that favours coding, coaching and collaborative design. The software architecture role doesn't necessarily need to be undertaken by a single person plus coding is a great way to understand whether the resulting architecture is actually going to work. My view of the software architecture role is as follows and you can read more in my book.
I've spoken at events and/or have clients in the following countries.
I regularly deliver sessions about software architecture at conferences, user groups and organisations around the world; including opening keynotes, closing keynotes, conference talks, panel sessions and workshops. In 2013, I won the IEEE Software sponsored SATURN 2013 "Architecture in Practice" Presentation Award for my talk about the conflict between agile and architecture.
Here are the public conferences, user groups and workshops that I'm scheduled to speak at during 2015.
All of the slides from past talks are available to view online/download. Here are the slides from some of my recent talks and workshops.
I've been interviewed for magazines, books and podcasts a number of times too, including:
I run training courses about software architecture, technical leadership and the balance with agility. The full set of slides from the training course is available to view online/download.
My courses include a 1-day software architecture sketching workshop and a full 2-day "Software Architecture for Developers" training course. Most courses are private, on-site courses for organisations around the world, but there are usually a small number of public courses each year. The software architecture sketching workshops are often run at conferences too.
An online version of my "Software Architecture for Developers" training course is also available via Parleys. This includes the same content as a regular 2-day version, except for the hands-on software design and sketching exercises.
My Software Architecture for Developers e-book, a developer-friendly guide to software architecture, is available to buy from Leanpub. You can read a sample online. A Chinese translation is available.
I regularly blog about software architecture on Coding the Architecture, which is a website that I created back in January 2006 to provide a resource for aspiring and new software architects, particularly those who favour an approach that is a little more "hands-on" than your traditional "ivory-tower architect". I also have a personal blog that is updated very infrequently and tends to be about things happening in Jersey.
Some of my popular blog posts have been translated.
Most of my career has been spent working for consulting companies in London and, although I predominantly built software for our customers, I have also performed a number of consulting roles. These included software architecture reviews, software archaeology, architecture strategy work, technical due diligence, process engineering, being a trusted advisor, developer mentoring and coaching, rescuing failing software projects, performance testing, creating technical career frameworks and training plans, etc.
This is an embedded software architecture diagram from Structurizr (you can move the boxes around if you like).