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Whom to Marry? Agile Experiments for Tough Architecture Decisions

May 2018 Presentation
Thijmen de Gooijer (ABB Corporate Research), Elisabeth Blom (Kommuninvest)

Integration technology choices are difficult to change and painful to get wrong. This talk describes Kommuninvest's approach to a long-lasting architectural decision.


Software Engineering Institute




Growth and new technologies drive small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to increasingly automate their businesses. IT groups at these SMEs must switch from supplying laptops and fixing printers to acting as a trusted partner in new technology decisions. Architects at these SMEs face big questions without the resources of a large enterprise. Kommuninvest is choosing a hybrid integration platform—a life choice, like deciding whom to marry. The decision has a long-term impact and is very expensive to change. Such long-term significant technology decisions require a pragmatic and hands-on approach, with quick results.

Learn how we took an agile yet thorough approach to architecture decisions. We did not invest in a grand plan or thorough evaluation but decided early and evaluated as we built. We assumed that it is cheaper to change the selected technology early than to do a lot of work up front. Yet our approach is thorough, even academic: we evaluate hypotheses using experiments. Collaborating with expert consultants gives us access to competence and knowledge to do so. We deliver results to the business often and have in place the first integrations less than half a year since kick-off with just two part-time resources.