#81 - Architecture Is Context—Making the Right Architecture Decisions - Eltjo Poort

Tech Lead Journal

Mar 21 2022 • 52 mins

“Architecture is context. You can only make the right trade-offs between alternatives if you know the context drivers."

Eltjo Poort is the architecture practice lead at CGI Netherlands with over 30 years of experience in the software industry. In this episode, Eltjo started by explaining the importance of architecture context and business drivers that can help an architect understand the different trade-offs and options in order to make the right architecture decisions. Eltjo shared the architect’s main responsibilities and how architects should avoid writing big and long architecture documents by understanding the different goals of an architecture document. Eltjo also shared his great insights on how we should deal with technical debt, “move slow and fix things”, and put a more balanced effort towards working on enablers in order to maintain sustainable pace in delivering great software. Towards the end, Eltjo shared a few anti-patterns that architects should avoid based on his article “Waterfall Wasteland and Agile Outback”.

Listen out for:

  • Career Journey - [00:05:40]
  • Architecture is Context - [00:11:10]
  • Understanding Architectural Trade-offs - [00:13:51]
  • Understanding the Business Drivers - [00:17:59]
  • Incorrect Architecture Decisions - [00:20:41]
  • Architect’s Responsibility - [00:23:45]
  • Architecture Documentation Goals - [00:26:43]
  • Dealing with Technical Debt - [00:32:30]
  • Enablers - [00:36:38]
  • Waterfall Wasteland and Agile Outback - [00:40:26]
  • 3 Tech Lead Wisdom - [00:44:46]


Eltjo Poort’s Bio
Eltjo R. Poort leads the architecture practice at CGI in The Netherlands. In his 30-year career in the software industry, he has fulfilled many engineering and project management roles. In the 1990s, he oversaw the implementation of the first SMS text messaging systems in the United States. In the last decade, he produced various publications on improving architecting practices, including his PhD thesis in 2012. Eltjo is best known for his work on Risk- and Cost-Driven Architecture, a set of principles and practices for agile architecting, for which he received the Linda Northrop Software Architecture Award in 2016. His digital architecture blog can be found at eltjopoort.nl. Eltjo is also a member of IFIP Working Group 2.11 on Software Architecture. In his spare time, Eltjo plays the violin in Symfonieorkest Nijmegen.

Follow Eltjo:

  • Website – https://eltjopoort.nl/
  • LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/eltjopoort/
  • Twitter – @eltjopoort

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For more info about the episode (including quotes and transcript), visit techleadjournal.dev/episodes/81.