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Simple solution, would benefit from complex examples
on 30 June 2009
Roger Sessions has written a few books on enterprise architectures and programming, and is a board member of the International Association of Software Architects (IASA) as well as being awarded Microsoft Most Valued Professional status. In Simple Architectures for Complex Enterprises, Sessions suggests a method for breaking complex business problems into simple solutions suitable for enterprise architectures. Sessions takes a high-level approach, giving the book appeal to business managers as well as analysts and developers.
Sessions proposes a method called "Simple Iterative Partitions" (SIP) for defining "Autonomous Business Capabilities" that would contain compatible business processes and software systems. He suggests five requirements for successfully partitioning systems, and the book looks at these in detail and suggests how they can be achieved:
- Partitions must be true partitions.
- Partition definitions must be appropriate to the problem at hand.
- The number of subsets in a partition must be appropriate.
- The size of the subsets in a partition must be roughly equal.
- The interaction between subsets in the partitions must be minimal and well defined.
These are discussed with simple mathematics and illustrative examples, and Sessions is always careful to explain with clarity. But it is unfortunate that he offers too few actual case studies of SIP in action. Perhaps these will come in his next book.
There is a case-study chapter on the National Program for Information Technology (NPfIT) being undertaken by the British Government's National Health Service, which Session's sees as a prime example of creeping complexity that would benefit from the SIP approach.
There are interesting ideas in this book, and Sessions manages to keep the discussion brief and illuminating; he is also careful not to baffle with jargon or talk of the latest technology. That said, it's a pity that more complex actual examples aren't provided to illustrate the SIP process in operation.