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Team owned architecture

Gautier DI FOLCO October 01, 2023 [Software engineering] #software engineering #product #team #leadership

In early 2013, I was in my penultimate year of my software engineering degree.

At the time, we were split in groups of 6 people to work on various project (ranging from technical to more management-oriented projects).

At some point, we decided to take leaderships according to our pre-existing skills (which is a great tactic if we want to have a high quality delivery for the best efficiency, but a poor learning/long-term strategy).

We had a big home automation project (12 weeks), at the time, Google was just starting to communicate their plans about it, and the aim of the project was to build a home automation center.

We decided to embed a Java server with a WebUI on a Raspberry Pi (which was launch a year before). I took the lead on it, laying out the architecture.

It was mostly interface-based:

On top of that, we had a rule system which was connecting everything.

It was a giant failure in terms of management:

I was actually feeling bad about prior to the presentation.

At some point, one of the teachers asked:

So, you have a monolithic Java application, does it mean that you are forced to recompile each time you want to add a new device type?

I went blank.

One of my teammates jumped on it:

No we don't, as Java allows you to dynamically load code

Another one continued with:

We have interfaces for devices and WebUI, so we don't even need to change existing code to be extensible.

I was impressed, even with a lack of communication, they were able to strive in the architecture, and to own them.

Aside of that, the results were pretty good:

It took me a while to learn from this experience, but since then, I have learnt to:

Over the years, I think of it more and more, should I judged it:

If I transpose it to my day-to-day work:

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