97 Things Every Architect Should Know

I finally finished this book and summarized it in Evernote.  As much as I would like to share those notes, it wouldn’t be fair to the author.

I read some of the comments on Amazon, with one person complaining about the book not being meaty enough for the price.  I paid $4.99 to buy this as an iPhone application, supported on the Stanza engine underneath.  It was definitely worth the price, and a great book to read on the iPhone given its lack of figures.

Another title of this book could have been “97 Soft Skills Every Architect Should Have” – mastery of these skills would certainly help any architecture be more successful.

The following are some of the key things that stuck out for me:

  • Michael Nygard talks about how everything will ultimately fail and the need to architect accordingly.  I listened to him recently on the Pragmatic Podcast, and bought his book “Release It!” last week which deals with this topic (I’ll discuss that one once I finish reading it)
  • He also talks about how software architecture has ethical consequences.  For example, how you do that thing which makes development easier but causes millions of users to spend more time doing their task, and the overall amount of time wasted (among other issues).
  • Craig Russell talks about how “it’s all about performance” along a number of new avenues – such as developer performance, overall time for a user to accomplish their end goal, etc.
  • Eric Hawthorne talks about how to “choose frameworks that play with others” – I particularly liked his utility to baggage ratio.  Other authors also make points in this area.
  • Dave Quick and Michael Nygard offer great advice on formally tracking risks as you would bugs, and various strategies to stretch risk out to make it more digestible
  • Timothy High offers great advice on recording the rationale for your architectural design before everyone forgets why particular decisions are made.

Of course, there is a lot more content covered in the other 91 entries.

I was particularly struck by how much soft skills play in the role of an architect in ratio to technical skills.  Another book I am glad to have read!


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