27–29 September 2017, Churchill College, Cambridge

The rise of the agile architect

A 45 minute Case Study by:

Reda Hmeid


About this Case Study

The role of the architect still suffers, to a greater or lesser degree, from the image of a box drawing, document writing, ivory tower elitist. When the signatories of the Agile Manifesto and the associated principles wrote "Working software over comprehensive documentation", in many people's eyes that sealed the deal. Architects were now superfluous to software development.

In this session, we’ll explore how - while it was clear that the great and good wanted to be rid of the old style architecture, where reams of documentation were written for months before being thrown over the wall for coding to start - the death knell of the architect role had not been rung. Rather, a certain type of architect could now rise to prominence. An architect who at one point may have been viewed as a maverick or hacker within the industry was now recognised as exactly what was needed. It’s those architects that embody the principles of agile that are vital cogs in any successful software development project.

A brief history of the software architect role will be discussed, where we’ll be able to contrast the prominent architects of the pre-agile era with those of post-agile. We’ll look at the characteristics of the agile architect, gathered from time spent working with architects from the early days of ba.com to HMRC Digital more recently. We’ll see that those characteristics take a software development project a long way towards success - and hopefully, we’ll be able to convince some of the doubters as to why the agile architect is not simply a nice to have, but someone you wouldn’t want to be without.

About the Speaker

Reda Hmeid is founder and CEO of Openlight.io, a digital strategy consultancy firm. He has been working in the digital space since 1999, as a coder on the fledgling ba.com platform. Having started coding with the venerable Java 1.4, Reda has a lot of affection for the Java programming language, but these days he also has a keen interest in Scala and NodeJS in particular, amongst other tech.

Reda is currently Head of Solutions at HMRC Digital, one of the largest digital programmes in the UK, helping to make Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) the most digitally advanced tax authority in the world. Reda has previously worked for British Airways and IBM and clients such as Deutsche Bank.

He is kept busy by his 4 children these days, but has been a kickboxing champion in the past.


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