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I have been working my way through Building Evolutionary Architectures by Neal Forward, Rebecca Parsons and Patrick Kua. Three senior and respected members of Thoughtworks (also the home of Martin Fowler). Having read and listened to Neal and Rebecca’s presentations and writing I had expected a deeply thought-provoking read, but have to admit to being disappointed. There are some good points without a doubt, but the book pretty much focuses on one idea, the application of fitness functions. But I’m not convinced it warrants several hundred pages of a book as a result the point does at times feel laboured.

There are some arguments made, that leaves me thinking that there is a view that the only answer is microservices in the conventional model of Kubernetes, Docker etc, which I agree is a powerful paradigm to allow solutions to evolve, but it isn’t a silver bullet and not always right in every case (if you have a team lacking the underlying appreciation of the goals, or put in to place in an ad-hoc manner (see Chris Richardson‘s work) it isn’t going to help.

Alongside this, there is little said about the interface definition for microservices (typically APIs of one form or another). Whilst mention of leaky abstractions are made, the material illustrations such as code lead API definitions are omitted (risk being, code changes, the API changes and the impact cascades).

What surprised me the most is the on more than one occasion the books points to ERPs not being sufficiently customisable. Yet, anyone working with ERPs will tell you that ERPs are at their best when you use them to leverage industry best practices rather than crowbar them to fit unconventional ways of operating. If you’re a manufacturer, is fiscal reporting part of your differentiator; probably not, so why not take best practice OOTB.

As usual, I have mind mapped things as I read through the book.  The dynamic/interactive version is here, the image (but not in full detail) is below.

evolutionary architectures.png