Building a Culture of Architecture

As we remake BestBuy.com into a new platform, we are building a culture of architecture at the same time.  Previous to 2010, BestBuy.com had no holistic architecture team guiding its development.  Instead, a long series of projects simply bolted on more and more functionality until the resulting system was impossible to deterministically change.  With little test and low regression coverage, any change in the system often resulted in unintended consequences.

In 2010 an architecture team was built and claimed ownership over BestBuy.com.  We began to involve ourselves in projects that affected the site.  We built a path and vision to remake the site into a next generation eCommerce platform.  But over all, we established that architecture mattered, and agile architecture would be our culture.  Our group of architects share similar architecture values, high involvement in development, decoupled flexible systems, TDD, small focused teams, high quality engineers, and letting architects lead projects rather than delivery managers.

The path of architecture has worked, teams with projects come find us now and we are involved with all aspects of the site.  We are slowly working our way towards an infinitely scaling cloud/datacenter SOA.  It is the architects who intervene when necessary, set engineering direction and mediate between all parties.  To make it work, the culture of architecture must be in place first.

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