The Value of Software System Architecture

In this article, Alan says that despite a dramatic increase in the pervasiveness and importance of software, many companies lack a fundamental understanding of the architecture underlying their code. This problem costs firms millions of dollars per year. A manager’s intuition about where to start such an effort is frequently wrong, given the perceptions of an architecture and the realities embedded in its source code are often in conflict. Firms need to generate data on measures of architecture, and begin to link these measures to performance outcomes that they care about. Armed with this data, they will be better placed to assess what works and what doesn’t.


Design Rules: The Power of Modularity.

In this classic book, Carliss (with Kim Clark) illustrates the means by which modularity helps innovation. She makes the case using many examples including a graphics controller, a motherboard, and a laptop computer. The book illustrates the means by which modularity in a system creates economic value and presents tools and techniques for thinking about and measuring modularity. Carliss persuasively argues that the modular design of the IBM/360 fundamentally transformed the field of computer architecture, and also transformed the structure and scale of the hardware and software industry by increasing the return on investment of R&D activities.

Working Knowledge.JPG

More Than the Sum of Its Parts: The Impact of Modularity on the Computer Industry

Carliss (with Kim Clark) says that the “power of modularity” rescued the computer industry from a problem of nightmarish proportions and made possible remarkable levels of innovation and growth in a relatively short period of time.