Visualising software architecture with the C4 model – Simon Brown, Agile on the Beach 2019


In Simon Brown’s talk at AOTB 2019 he explores the visual communication of software architecture based upon a decade of Simon’s experiences working with software development teams large and small across the globe.

He looks at what is commonplace today, the importance of creating a shared vocabulary, diagram notation, and the value of creating a lightweight model to describe your software system using the “C4 model”, which he created as a way to help software development teams describe and communicate software architecture, both during up-front design sessions and when retrospectively documenting an existing codebase.

It’s very likely that the majority of the software architecture diagrams you’ve seen are a confused mess of boxes and lines. Following the publication of the Manifesto for Agile Software Development in 2001, teams have abandoned UML, discarded the concept of modelling and instead place a heavy reliance on conversations centered around incoherent whiteboard diagrams or shallow “Marketecture” diagrams created with Visio. Moving fast and being Agile requires good communication, yet software development teams struggle with this fundamental skill. A good set of software architecture diagrams are priceless for aligning a team around a shared vision and for getting new-joiners productive fast.

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BIOGRAPHY
Simon is an independent consultant specialising in software architecture, and the author of “Software Architecture for Developers” (a developer-friendly guide to software architecture, technical leadership and the balance with agility). He is also the creator of the C4 software architecture model, which is a simple approach for creating maps of your code. Simon is a regular speaker at international software development conferences, travelling the world to help organisations visualise and document their software architecture.

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