Simple Architectures for Complex Enterprises

Author: Roger Sessions
Publisher: MS Press, 2008
Pages: 208
ISBN: 0735625786
Aimed at: IT architects
Rating: 5
Pros: Fascinating; thought provoking
Cons: Abstract
Reviewed by: Dave Wheeler
I liked this book. It’s not some tedious tome on architecture, but is instead a short and incisive work that mirrors the book’s core concept: simplicity is critical to success in enterprise architecture. The book opens with a general discussion on enterprise architecture in general, and some of the many frameworks that are commonly used. It then leaps into an examination of complexity and partitioning: the mechanism for breaking down complexity. Sessions uses interesting examples (variously involving dice, chess and even fighter cockpits) to explain his points. Having explained the fundamentals, there are a couple of chapters on how to apply his ideas to enterprise architecture, resulting in a presentation of his SIP (simple iterative partitions) process.

Chapter 6 is going to be painful reading for anyone involved in the National Program for IT. Sessions uses this program as an example of why complexity can sink a project, and how focusing on simplifying all aspects of this incredibly difficult program could have yielded great benefits. I particularly liked the phrase “SIP’s simplification could have removed as much as 98 percent of the project’s complexity, and possibly more.”

The book offers no magic bullet. You do not finish it with a “completed” enterprise architecture ready to be used. Instead, you’ll have spent a happy hour or two really thinking about whether you can apply the ideas that Sessions presents so well within your own organisation. This book is small and perfectly formed: an excellent read for enterprise architects.

<Reviewed in VSJ>

Last Updated ( Friday, 12 June 2009 )