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Emergent architecture: possible inconsistency in Developer Open questions
Last Post 04 Nov 2013 06:01 AM by Gunther Verheyen. 7 Replies.
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Ian Mitchell
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Ian Mitchell

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06 Sep 2013 03:28 AM
    I recently did the Developer Open test. There were a couple of questions which seem to establish a contradictory position regarding how architecture develops.

    First question: When is a system's architecture decided?

    A) In the beginning of the project, during Sprint 0.
    B) Throughout the project, as understanding emerges and the Development Team learns more about the project.
    C) Whenever the assigned architect can join the Development Team.
    D) It is designed along with the vision, before the first Sprint.

    The correct answer is listed as B. That's fair enough. An emergent architecture is reasonable proposition in an agile way of working.

    Second question: What are two (2) ways a Development Team can ensure a good application architecture?

    A) The Development Team plans a Sprint 0 at the beginning of a project with the objective of developing an architecture model used during the following Sprints.
    B) A Development Team doesn't need an architecture model in Scrum. The architecture emerges automatically as the Development Team adds functionality.
    C) The Development Team should have a set of guiding architecture principles that every Development Team member understands and follows when writing code.
    D) The Development Team should assign someone to the role of software architect whose job it is to makes sure a consistent architecture is developed.
    E) The Development Team plans some time each Sprint to discuss the architecture needed for the features planned in that Sprint.

    The correct answers are listed as C and E. This means that having guiding architectural principles (C) is considered a more appropriate answer than having an emergent architecture (B). The position established therefore seems to be inconsistent with that of the previous question.
    Bhuvan Misra
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    Bhuvan Misra

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    06 Sep 2013 06:26 AM
    "Automatically" may be a crucial factor. The Development Team need to work towards it.

    --Bhuvan.
    Charles Bradley
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    Charles Bradley

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    06 Sep 2013 10:49 AM
    I think Bhuvan hit the nail on the head. That answer implies that good arch happens magically or without forethought, and that is not the case. There is forethought, but we try to avoid "BIG UPFRONT FORETHOUGHT". Instead, we do it incrementally, not "automatically"
    Gunther Verheyen
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    Gunther Verheyen

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    17 Sep 2013 11:14 AM
    Assuming that the first question is clear, I'd like to add to the second question that an emergent architecture still needs guiding principles and agreed guidelines. We'll think about rewording answer B but it does hint at the team not paying specific attention to it, as if it 'automatically' (i.e. magically) comes into place. The first question states that architecture is being decided upon, whereas option B of the second question assumes it does not need a conscious decision.
    So, overall an architecture is not designed upfront, as the actual implementation of it emerges, but emergence is better against guidelines and agreed principles.
    Ian Mitchell
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    Posts:571
    Ian Mitchell

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    18 Sep 2013 04:13 AM
    Hi Gunther

    Perhaps:

    B) A Development Team doesn't need an architecture model in Scrum. The architecture emerges without fail as the Development Team adds functionality.

    I remain slightly uncomfortable with the use of the word "automatically". When I took the test, it left me thinking "OK...so what does scrum.org mean by 'automatically'. Obviously it can't be really automatic, because there's no button to press that would subsequently take care of the architecture. Hmm, perhaps they just mean that architectural emergence happens in a continuum, which it does".

    Gunther Verheyen
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    Gunther Verheyen

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    18 Sep 2013 11:04 AM
    Ian, thank you for the suggestion! Highly appreciated.
    Derek Davidson
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    Derek Davidson

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    04 Nov 2013 05:57 AM
    I suppose, to be even clearer (and as some correspondents noted), you could change the answer to read:

    B) A Development Team doesn't need an architecture model in Scrum. The architecture emerges magically as the Development Team adds functionality.

    nb: I realise I'm being pedantic about English language. But with so many non-native English speakers taking the assessments, I think we have a responsibility to be totally clear on questions.
    Gunther Verheyen
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    Gunther Verheyen

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    04 Nov 2013 06:01 AM
    Derek, you are absolutely right. It should be about assessing knowledge on Scrum, not on English. Thank you.
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