Are architects supposed to be the smartest people on the team, making all the important decisions for developers to fill in the blanks? Certainly not. Rather, architects make everyone else smarter, for example by sharing decision models or revealing blind spots. Architects also communicate across many organizational layers by using models and metaphors. This talk reflects on two decades working as an architect, ranging from the executive penthouse to the serverless engine room.
What's the focus of your work these days?
I am part of the AWS serverless team with a focus on serverless integration and automation. In plain text, I am trying to make building distributed systems in the cloud easier. I am also writing another book on Platform Strategy, which is the third book in my Architect Elevator book series.
What's the motivation for your talk at QCon London 2024?
What an architect is and does continues to be much debated. Shifting technologies and new ways of working only add fuel to the debate as it impacts how architects add value. This talk is my view on the role of an architect. Instead of focusing on purely technical or purely soft skills, I like to reflect on how architects think and make decisions, how they use metaphors, etc.
How would you describe your main persona and target audience for this session?
Everyone who is involved in software delivery or large-scale system design should get something out of the session. You might be an accomplished architect who's looking to up their game or you could be a developer looking to add some architect tricks to their portfolio.
Is there anything specific that you'd like people to walk away with after watching your session?
I'd like them to rethink what an architect is and does. It's not about knowing specific tech better than anyone else or being able to recite every package in the Java libraries. It's about finding suitable abstractions using models and metaphors. While that may sound theoretical, the talk won't be!
Is there anything interesting that you learned from a previous QCon?
I spoke at QCon in Japan, San Francisco, and London before, although that was some years back. I hosted the cloud computing track in San Francisco and remember Craig Weissman's amazing talk about SalesForce's architecture quite vividly.
Director of Enterprise Strategy @Amazon
As Director of Enterprise Strategy at AWS, Gregor helps technology leaders transform both their organization and their technology platform. You’ll find him riding the Architect Elevator from the engine room to the penthouse, perhaps automating serverless solutions in the morning and preparing board presentations in the afternoon. His favorite pastime is dissecting buzzwords and replacing them with meaningful decisions and architectural trade-offs.
Before joining AWS, Gregor has served as Smart Nation Fellow to the Singapore government, as Technical Director in Google Cloud’s Office of the CTO, and as Chief Architect at Allianz SE, where he oversaw the architecture of a global data center consolidation and deployed the first private cloud software delivery platform.
Gregor is known as co-author of the seminal book Enterprise Integration Patterns, which provided the reference vocabulary for all modern ESBs. His book The Software Architect Elevator tells stories from the trenches of IT transformation while his articles have been featured in Best Software Writing by Joel Spolsky and 97 Things Every Software Architect Should Know. He is an active member of the IEEE Software advisory board.