There is a major new book out: Design Structure Matrix Methods and Applications. The authors, Steven D. Eppinger and Tyson R. Browning, may not be household names, but they are rock stars in the world of DSMs. This book contains a clear and lucid introduction to DSMs. However, what makes this book so compelling is its rich collection of examples.
The book contains 44 real world examples as varied as NASA's Mars Pathfinder, BP’s LNG Terminal, LLBean’s Software Code Base, or Luftfahrt’s Airport Security System. These examples drive home the generality and simplicity of DSMs. I am also proud to note that the LLBean analysis was done using Lattix tools.
The book groups these examples into 4 categories:
- Product Architecture
- Organization Architecture
- Process Architecture
- Multidomain Architecture
While the first three applications have existed for some time, the application of DSMs to link and analyze multiple domains is relatively new. This is a natural progression; and, it raises interesting new possibilities. For instance, we know that different stake holders have different ways of looking at the architecture of a complex system. We often choose to think of them as separate views. Yet, these views are related. Can a system be designed without the designer being cognizant of how it will be deployed? The multi-domain DSMs may provide an effective mechanism to capture those relationships.
We released Lattix 7.0 last month and its been a hectic time.
Let's take a quick glance at history. Lattix 6.0 was released last year and was followed up by a point release every month, each adding significant new features and usability.
We now have the platform for the next round of improvements. I will discuss various new features of Lattix in my upcoming blog postings. Today we will talk about the concept of a Profile, new in Lattix 7.0.
Lattix 7.0 sports 4 different profiles:
What is Profile?
A profile is a configuration of Lattix that comprises of related modules, tools, scripts, and default settings to support a common usage pattern.
Consider just a few examples (these are just examples, each profile has many more capabilities):
- You are doing C/C++ development. If you are working on a mobile device, you may also have an interest in understanding how your Java application uses JNI to call into C/C++ based services. If your code is strongly object oriented, you may be interested in combining source(cpp) and header(hpp) into a single abstraction.
- You are applying Lattix to Java applications. It is highly probable that you also care about Spring, Hibernate, EJBs, Hibernate and other frameworks. You may even have an interest in databases.
- Your primary environment is a .NET based enterprise. You want to understand how managed code interacts with unmanaged code. You may also want to understand how the schemas, tables, stored procedures of your SQL Server are organized.
- You are an expert in DSMs. You use Lattix for its powerful restructuring and impact analysis capabilities. Your data is in Excel. You are used to different conventions for dependencies and ordering.
A profile makes Lattix easier to use and gives visibility to a host of related capabilities that are built into Lattix.
What if your use of Lattix does not correspond to one of these profiles? In that case, you always have the ALL profile, which makes all the modules, tools and scripts available. In fact, the intrepid users can create their own profile or alter an existing profile.
How much "architecture" is good for agile development? How should you think about the future implications of design as you write code to meet immediate requirements? A recent article in CrossTalk, tackles this subject head on. The authors - Nanette Brown, Robert Nord and Ipek Ozkaya are from Software Engineering Institute (SEI) and well known for their prior contributions to the study of software architecture.
In their own words: Our mantra for Architectural Agility is “informed anticipation.” The architecture should not over-anticipate emergent needs, delaying delivery of user value and risking development of overly complex and unneeded architectural constructs. At the same time, it should not under-anticipate future needs, risking feature development in the absence of architectural guidance and support. Architectural Agility requires “just enough” anticipation.
According to them, tools such as dependency management, real options analysis and technical debt management can help you strike the right balance. Check out this thought provoking article: Enabling Agility Through Architecture.