8 November 2010

Trends and challenges in architecting embedded systems

Architecting is not even a proper word (I even heard someone at SPLC suggest all papers with architecting in the title should be rejected) , but is quite popular nevertheless. I think it has to do with Swedish allows you to construct a verb from just any noun, and still making sense....

I was in Stockholm to talk about architecting automotive software at an ICES-INCOSE seminar. You can find the slides from the other presenters (and mine in PDF) at the ICES homepage.
Staffan Persson is an architect from Scania and he presented a very interesting view on architecting in lean organisations (an introduction by Staffan can be found in Lean Magazine #5).

The finishing panel debate was interesting. I don't know if the notes from that will be published on the site, but I have a few reflections when thinking about it afterwards:
  • One trait of a good architect is to freely move between different levels of abstraction. An architect needs to see the whole picture all the time, but he also needs to be able to dive down into details, "the devil is in the details".
  • You can teach, and learn, fundamental knowledge for an architect, such expressing quality attributes, be familiar with architectural styles and patterns, know architecture platforms such as AUTOSAR or .NET, and being able to express designs in various views etc. But there are also another set of key skills that are very hard to teach, such as understanding the company culture (the common value ground), earn respect, know not only what technical parts that are affected by various decisions, but also who. So it would be difficult to move form one organisation to another an be productive as an architect.
  • An architect needs to be comfortable with uncertainty. I know I am not, and this is one of my weaker points as an architect. And how do you assure other stakeholders that one should not make a decision now since we don't know enough?

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