# Monday, 21 December 2009

Complexity is the Enemy! 

This is the message driven home repeatedly by Roger Sessions in his book Simple Architectures for Complex Enterprises

Sessions recommends tackling a complex enterprise architecture by identifying the subcomponents of a complex system and dividing that system into autonomous subsystems. He refers to these subsystems as Autonomous Business Capabilities (ABCs) and the process of dividing them as a Simple Iterative Process (SIP).  

Before describing how to approach this process, Sessions presents a mathematical proof that subdividing a complex system into a set of subsystems reduces the complexity of the system as a whole. This seems intuitive to many of us, but the mathematics allow us to be more forceful in our commitment to this process. The mathematics is relatively simple (nothing beyond high school math) and he even recommends training team members in this mathematics before beginning any SIP.

A large part of an Enterprise Architect's job is to define the optimal way to partition the complex system. By applying mathematics to his model, he removes the emotions that so often dictate how a project is broken up.

The process of splitting a complex system into appropriate subsystem isn't overwhelming, but it is critical to managing complexity. According to Sessions, Each ABC should contain only elements that relate to one another; and the elements of one ABC should not relate directly to or communicate directly with any element in another ABC. Once partitioned, each ABC should be roughly the same size, although it is possible to split a subsystem further into sub-subsystems. It is also critical that communication between each subsystem take place only at a few clearly-defined points.

If this sounds like a recipe for Service Oriented Architecture, this is no coincidence. Sessions concludes his book with recommendations on moving from business partitions (ABCs) to software partitions, which he describes as "fortresses". These software partitions follow many of the same rules as ABCs created with the SIP, so making this transition is straightforward.

This is a good book for anyone who aspires to be an Architect (Enterprise or otherwise) and wants to apply a systematic approach to managing complexity.

Saturday, 06 April 2013 10:23:16 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
I dance Argentine tango. We teach new people to dance. If we teach it, so they are pecerft, they will quit before they dance very long. If we teach it sloppy and pecerft it over the years, they have to deconstruct and reconstruct. This latter process is messy, but you come out knowing more and being better. I came across the saying Perfect is the enemy of the Good. Architectures don't instill confidence, only experience can do that, so we refactor our dance. The hardest thing to unlearn is that going to the cross is not lead when the leader steps to the follower's left. That's a pedgogical device that becomes a very hard constraint. Good is good enough.
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Thursday, 11 April 2013 07:30:58 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Ray at least with the Seagate Momentus XT HHDD your belief is correct in that they do actively cache while power is on which can be demonstrated quite easily. For example, after the first couple of boots you will see things subsequently faster almost the same as speed of booting off a SSD. Likewise when working on documents that are frequently accessed, you will also see the active caching that occurs with persistency meaning that when power is removed, no data is lost that was in cache. How do I know this? Simple, I have tried it to see what would happen… I recently installed yet another HHDD, this one a 750GB Momentus XT (newest generation) that I was able to do some performance testing vs. previous generation that one of these days I will get around to posting results/findings on my on-going momentus moments blog post series. Oh and for these (or at least the Momentus HHDDs) writing data to disk before to the cache, lol, that’s a good one I will add to the best of FUD list Cheers gs

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Thanks for this comment, I was also horrified by the tone of original article. Spider mower is only a machine, which obeys the operators commands. It has no automatic navigation, no AI. The operator is always 100% responsible for the machine. I am afraid that this tragic accident was caused by a severe negligence of safety rules. You may never be standing right underneath or right above the machine. If you follow this very simple rule, the Spider mower becomes the safest thinkable machine. Besides the remote control is equipped with an emergency stop switch, which you must activate the moment you start losing control.

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