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Training: [SOLD OUT] Architecture Without an End State

Location: Marina

Duration: 9:00am - 4:00pm

Day of week: Thursday and Friday

Level: Intermediate


Familiarity with basic architecture principles, such as system boundary and separation of concerns.

What you'll learn, and how you can apply it

By the end of this two-day training course, you'll understand:

  • How to design systems that can evolve over time in the face of technological and business change
  • When the “single system of record” pattern applies and when it does not
  • How to separate concerns for better information hiding
  • Ways to isolate information to allow independent change
  • Why aiming for the “end state” never works and what to do about it

And you'll be able to:

  • Combine microservices with legacy systems
  • Make your systems glide smoothly from web to mobile to chat apps
  • Build systems in simpler pieces that can be recombined and recomposed to enable new business capabilities, all without running afoul of YAGNI


Architecture plans in enterprises tend to resemble late-night infomercials. First, you see a person or system that seems incapable of survival—a situation that can be immediately rectified if you just buy into the product. (One popular infomercial shows incompetent people mangling tomatoes transitioning into Ginsu-wielding sous chefs; similarly, the architecture pitch starts with hideous complexity then moves to clean orthogonal box diagrams.) Operators are always standing by.

Real architecture never reaches that blissful end state. Something always interrupts the program: businesses change, technology changes, or funding dries up. What would happen if you did reach the end state, anyway? Is IT in the company done? Of course not.

The truth is that there is no end state. We must all learn to build systems that evolve and grow. We need to stop aiming for the end state and understand that change is continuous. We cannot predict the details, but we can learn the general patterns.

Michael Nygard demonstrates how to design and architect systems that admit change—bending and flexing through time. Using a blend of information architecture, technical architecture, and some process change, Michael walks you through examples of rigid systems to show how to transform them into more maneuverable architecture.

This workshop includes both teaching and hands-on design sessions. Design sessions will be paper and whiteboard work in small groups. You’ll work on real problems drawn from a variety of industries.


Day 1


  • Information hiding
  • Decision hiding
  • Separation of concerns
  • Architectural styles

Architectural patterns:

  • Layers
  • Pipes and filters
  • Broker
  • Proxy
  • Components and glue
  • Interpreter
  • Microkernels
  • Event stream/CQRS
  • Command

Application architecture:

  • Consumer-driven contracts
  • Segregated interfaces
  • Bounded context
  • Layers redux
  • Hexagonal architecture

Day 2

Living in complex systems:

  • Organizations as complex systems
  • Local viewpoints
  • Local optimization, global deoptimization
  • Second-order effects, the law of unintended consequences

Team-scale autonomy:

  • Safety in systems
  • Independent action
  • “Without permission”

Evolutionary architectures:

  • Microservices
  • Message-driven systems
  • Microkernels

Information architecture:

  • Identifiers and their many issues
  • Single system of record
  • Augment upstream
  • Contextualize downstream
  • Pluralism
  • Open-world systems

High-leverage architecture:

  • Data/metadata unification
  • Rules-based systems
  • Generalized minimalism

Speaker: Michael Nygard

Architect @Cognitect & Author of the Best Seller "Release It!"

Michael Nygard strives to raise the bar and ease the pain for developers around the world. He shares his passion and energy for improvement with everyone he meets, sometimes even with their permission. Living with systems in production taught Michael about the importance of operations and writing production-ready software. Highly-available, highly-scalable commerce systems are his forte. Michael has written and co-authored several books, including "97 Things Every Software Architect Should Know" and the best seller "Release It!", a book about building software that survives the real world. Michael works for Cognitect Inc., the company behind Clojure, ClojureScript, Pedestal, and Datomic.

Find Michael Nygard at


Monday, 11 November

  • Architectures You've Always Wondered About

    Next-gen architectures from the most admired companies in software, such as Netflix, Google, Facebook, Twitter, & more

  • Languages of Infrastructure

    This track explores languages being used to code the infrastructure. Expect practices on toolkits and languages like Cloudformation, Terraform, Python, Go, Rust, Erlang.

  • Building & Scaling High-Performing Teams

    To have a high-performing team, everybody on it has to feel and act like an owner. Organizational health and psychological safety are foundational underpinnings to support ownership.

  • Bare Knuckle Performance

    Killing latency and getting the most out of your hardware

  • Ethics, Regulation, Risk, and Compliance

    With so much uncertainty, how do you bulkhead your organization and technology choices? Learn strategies for dealing with uncertainty.

  • Software Supply Chain

    Life of a software artifact from commit to deployment. Security, observability and provenance of the software supply chain.

Tuesday, 12 November

Wednesday, 13 November