Friday, October 15, 2010

Discussing Complexity

This blog is for discussing the paper,  Urban and Enterprise Architectures: A Cross-Disciplinary Look at Complexity by Roger Sessions and Nikos A. Salingaros

Complexity is a major problem in enterprise architecture. Complexity obstructs business/IT alignment. Complexity obscures project vision. Complexity delays schedules, drives cost overruns, and hinders delivery of value. For enterprise architecture, complexity is the enemy.

Complexity is also a problem for urban architecture. In urban architecture complexity causes habitats that are destructive to the human psyche. Complexity can cause a variety of stress responses such as increased heart rate, sweating, and pupil dilation. For urban architecture, complexity is not just a matter of aesthetics; it is a matter of social wellbeing.

Although the symptoms of unmanaged complexity differ in these two fields, the laws governing architectural complexity are universal. Successful architectures follow the same basic principles whether those architectures describe biological, urban, or enterprise systems. And in all cases, the cost of ignoring these principles is disorder, dissolution, and ultimately chaos.

This cross-disciplinary paper explores the universal principles of controlling complexity and draws on lessons from urban architecture to better understand how to design successful enterprise architecture.
This paper was originally a lecture by Roger Sessions and Nikos Salingaros and is presented here as lecture notes.

Nikos A. Salingaros is the author of Anti-Architecture and Deconstruction (2004), Principles of Urban Structure (2005), and A Theory of Architecture (2006), as well as numerous scientific papers. Dr. Salingaros collaborated with Christopher Alexander, helping to edit the four-volume The Nature of Order during its twenty-five-year gestation, a work that had a huge impact on the Patterns Movement in Software Architecture.

You can download the paper here. Look towards the end of the section.