Gartner Research

From Fragile to Agile Software Architecture

Published: 15 November 2016

ID: G00297933

Analyst(s): Kirk Knoernschild


Traditional approaches to software architecture are broken, and agile methods offer little guidance. The result is brittle systems that cannot evolve. To fix this, technical professionals must build upon the fundamental goal of agile — rapid feedback so that development teams can respond to change.

Table Of Contents


  • A Demonstration of Architectural Agility
  • The Goal of Architecture Is Cost-Effective Evolution
  • Traditional Approaches to Architecture Practice Are Flawed
    • BAUF Cannot Work
    • The Ivory Tower Is Real
  • The Lifeblood of Agile Is Frequent and Accurate Feedback
  • The Three Pillars of Architecture
    • The Social Pillar
    • The Process Pillar
    • The Structural Pillar
  • Practices Increasing Architectural Agility
    • Prove It With Code
    • Architect All the Way Down
    • Generate Documentation
    • Validate and Enforce the Architecture
    • Refactor Mercilessly
    • Keep It as Simple as Possible
  • Improve All Three Pillars Simultaneously
  • Establish Your Architectural Vision, Avoid BAUF and Adapt Architecture
  • If Building a Monolith, Use a Componentized Architecture
  • Find Ways to Garner Accurate Feedback on Architecture
  • Refactor the Moment Architectural Deficiencies Are Discovered


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