Software Architecture for Developers

Led by an experienced software architect who codes.

Is this the course for you?

Designing software given a vague set of requirements and a blank sheet of paper is a good skill to have, although not many people get to do this on a daily basis. However, with agile methods encouraging collective ownership of the code, it's really important that everybody on the team understands the big picture. And in order to do this, you need to understand why you've arrived at the design that you have. In a nutshell, everybody on the team needs to be a software architect.

This is a two-day training course about pragmatic software architecture, designed by software architects that code. It will show you what "just enough" up front design is, how it can be applied to your software projects and how to communicate the big picture through a collection of simple effective sketches. Aimed at software developers, it fills the gap between software development and high-level architecture that probably seems a little "enterprisey" for most developers.

Sound familiar?

  • I'm not sure what software architecture is about and how it's any different from design.
  • I don't understand why we need "software architecture".
  • My manager has told me that I'm the software architect on our new project, but I'm not sure what that actually means.
  • I want to get involved in designing software but I'm not sure what I should learn.
  • I've been given some requirements and asked to design some software, but I'm not sure where to start.
  • I need to make some major enhancements to my system, but I'm not sure where to start.
  • I've been asked to write a software architecture document but I'm not sure what to include in it.
  • I'm not sure who to talk to in my organisation about how best to integrate what we're building.
  • I understand what software architecture is all about, but I'm not sure how to tackle it on my project.
  • My project seems like a chaotic mess; everybody is doing their own thing and there's no shared vision. Help!

Day 1

  • [09:00 - 09:30] Introductions and setting the scene
  • [09:30 - 10:30] What is software architecture?
    • Architecture and software architecture.
    • Design versus architecture.
    • The importance of software architecture.
  • [10:30 - 11:00] Break
  • [11:00 - 12:30] The software architecture role
    • Software architects in the development team.
    • Software architecture role vs lead developer role.
    • The role and responsibilities.
    • Coding architects.
    • Soft skills.
    • Avoiding "ivory towers", collaboration and coaching.
  • [12:30 - 13:30] Lunch
  • [13:30 - 15:00] Designing software
    • Quality attributes.
    • Constraints.
    • Principles.
    • Designing software given a blank sheet of paper.
  • [15:00 - 15:30] Break
  • [15:30 - 17:00] Software design exercise (iteration 1)

Day 2

  • [09:00 - 10:30] Visualising software
    • Reviewing the diagrams from the software design exercise.
    • UML vs informal sketches.
    • Ineffective sketches.
    • A lightweight approach for effective NoUML sketches.
  • [10:30 - 11:00] Break
  • [11:00 - 12:30] Software design exercise (iteration 2)
  • [12:30 - 13:30] Lunch
  • [13:30 - 15:00] Documenting software
    • The importance of documentation.
    • Project and documentation stakeholders.
    • A lightweight approach for software documentation.
    • Alternative approaches for documenting software.
  • [15:00 - 15:30] Break
  • [15:30 - 16:30] Software architecture in the development life cycle
    • Software architecture in waterfall, iterative and agile approaches.
    • "Just enough" up front design.
    • Risk-storming.
    • Evaluating software architecture and prototypes.
    • Guidance for doing "just enough" in the real world.
  • [16:30 - 17:00] Discussion, questions and wrap-up


The course is interactive; with a combination of presentation, group discussion and group working. Throughout the course you'll solidify everything you learn by defining the architecture for a small software system through a series of exercises focused around a software design exercise and case study.

Is there a practical element?

Yes, you'll be broken up into groups and asked to design a small software system from nothing but a set of requirements and a whiteboard. This includes:

  • Defining the architecture for the case study solution.
  • Deciding on the technologies that would be used to implement it.
  • Drawing up different views of the architecture to illustrate the software components and their interactions.
  • Assessing and justifying that the architecture will satisfy the functional and non-functional requirements.
  • Comparing and reviewing what each of the groups has come up with; discussing the choice of technologies, diagram notation and process used to define the architecture.
  • Transforming the diagrams into a collection of effective sketches.

Is there any coding?

In a word, no. The purpose of the training course is to look at the bigger picture elements of the software design process so there's no focus on writing code. The case study does involve choosing technologies and frameworks though, so that you understand how you'd go about actually building the system you design.

Course Configurations

The course can be run in a number of configurations and tailored if necessary:

Name Days Summary
Software architecture for developers 2 The full course, as described above.
Software architecture in a day 1 The majority of the full 2-day course without the software design exercises and the in-depth guidance on visualising and communicating software designs.
Software architecture for managers 1 The majority of the full 2-day course without the software design exercises and the in-depth guidance on visualising and communicating software designs. This is popular with project managers, product managers, infrastructure architects and other non-developers that want to know what software architecture is all about. It's the same content as "Software architecture in a day" but pitched at a slightly different level.
Agile software architecture sketches 1 The software design exercise and in-depth guidance on visualising and communicating software designs.


These courses are provided by Sixty North under license from Coding the Architecture.

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Our business hours are 08:00 to 16:00 CET/CEST.