Back to resources

How Less Viable Solutions Solve Common Architectural Challenges

Architecture
Different Skillsets
Conflict Solving
Collaboration

13 May, 2022

Tom Hill
Tom Hill

Engineering Manager at Torii

Tom Hill, Engineering Manager at Globality, Inc., describes his decision-making practices when making architectural decisions.

Deciding on an Architecture

The important thing when setting architectural direction is to always implement the smallest viable solution. Most people tend to get themselves into a sandbox where they look for the perfect architecture to solve all of their problems.

The key thing here is to take the inverse approach. First, I recommend analyzing the problems, noting which ones are most critical and which ones are least critical. After that, it’s about designing a step of architecture that is the least viable solution for the most critical problem. The reasoning behind this is that while you’re shaping the architectural direction, features teams and innovation don’t stop.

By the time you’ve spent weeks building the perfect architectural vision, the product is at a new version, and things have changed. The essential part of architectural design is to identify problems quickly and work to the least feasible solution.

An Introduction to Flexibility:

By using less viable solutions, teams are able to be more flexible with the architecture. Without planning the ultimate end result, architecture can solve the first problem and be iterated upon in the future.

Architecture is often thought of as the foundation that everything is built – but it’s not. If you use this model, you’ll improve your technology for some time until you find yourself back in the same position. The best architectural model is iterative, just like any product or feature you’re delivering.

Trade-Offs:

The answer to any architectural question is: it depends. Don’t evaluate and pick tools based on best practices in the industry. Just because you see a lot of chatter about a specific type of solution doesn’t mean it will be right for your company. Look at the bounds in which you’re working and come to an architectural decision with that in mind.

Discover Plato

Scale your coaching effort for your engineering and product teams
Develop yourself to become a stronger engineering / product leader


Related stories

Building and Maintaining Company Culture: How to Scale Teams Accordingly

26 May

Elwin Lau, Director of Software at Jana, advocates the importance of maintaining culture within a company when scaling teams.

Mission / Vision / Charter
Scaling Team
Building A Team
Company Culture
Collaboration
Onboarding
Sharing The Vision
Elwin Lau

Elwin Lau

Director of Software at JANA Corporation

Building and Maintaining Company Culture: How to Scale Teams Accordingly

26 May

Elwin Lau, Director of Software at Jana, advocates the importance of maintaining culture within a company when scaling teams.

Mission / Vision / Charter
Scaling Team
Building A Team
Company Culture
Collaboration
Onboarding
Sharing The Vision
Elwin Lau

Elwin Lau

Director of Software at JANA Corporation

Hiring a Data Team With a Stubborn Manager

24 May

Liz Henderson, an Executive consultant at Capgemini, shares her experience hiring a data team with a manager who was difficult to work with.

Managing Up
Building A Team
Conflict Solving
Hiring
Data Team
Liz Henderson

Liz Henderson

Executive consultant at Capgemini

Managing Different Time Zones: Inclusive Collaboration Methods

19 May

Jonathan Belcher, Engineering Manager at Curative, shares an unknown side of synchronous communication tools and advises managers on how to handle a team that’s spread across the globe.

Remote
Internal Communication
Collaboration
Cross-Functional Collaboration
Jonathan Belcher

Jonathan Belcher

Engineering Manager - Patient Experience at Curative

Creating a Company Culture That Balances Helpfulness and Productivity

16 May

Alexis Philippe, Vice President, Product & Engineering at Amilla, describes his one simple rule for creating a culture of helpfulness that doesn't disrupt productivity.

Mission / Vision / Charter
Company Culture
Collaboration
Cross-Functional Collaboration
Alexis Philippe

Alexis Philippe

Vice President, Product & Engineering at Amilla

You're a great engineer.
Become a great engineering leader.

Plato (platohq.com) is the world's biggest mentorship platform for engineering managers & product managers. We've curated a community of mentors who are the tech industry's best engineering & product leaders from companies like Facebook, Lyft, Slack, Airbnb, Gusto, and more.