Myth: Architecture in an agile project can be continually (or continuously) emerged & evolved

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15 Mar 2017 by mallyanitin

In this new brave world, anything can be said, done, and justified.

This sentence is complex. English! My god. Such a complex language.

  • Continual = repeatedly (say the tv show is running continually)
  • Continuously = non-stop (say the tv is running continuously)
  • Emerge = come-out (say a baby bird emerges from egg)
  • Evolve = grow-into-a-new-state (say a caterpillar evolves to a butterfly)


  • Continual emergence = A new architecture showing up repeatedly (every sprint or PI) for life.
  • Continual evolution = A new architecture after emergence, evolves repeatedly to adapt to repeated change in requirements. The architecture continual evolution stops, when requirements continual evolution stops; i.e. Product is mature & moving to EOL (end of life)
  • Continuous emergence = A new architecture showing up every day (or second) for life.
  • Continuous evolution = A new architecture after emergence, evolves non-stop to adapt to non-stop change in requirements.

Practically speaking,

  •  In the early stages of the project, the change in requirements that impacts architecture can be  continuous. Architecture also emerges and then evolves continously.
  • In the later stages of the project, once requirement volatility has been addressed, the  architecture remains more-or-less constant (gets cemented) and changes are infrequent. Architecture is evolved continually to address new requirements that would have emerged requiring architectural change. This architecture change could be a costly (impact regression, $) project.
  • The software does reach a state, where change in architecture, is hard to address certain types of requirements. At this time, a phoenix (re-birth) or hydra (supplement) type strategy is required.
  • The software finally does reach a state, where disruptions and innovations in the industry, would have disrupted the value proposition, or architecture. This is the time to EOL the product.

In Summary, though anything can be done i.e. continual or continuous emergence or evolution of architecture throughout the product life cycle, it’s not the norm. Emergence happens early, evolves continuously till proven, has a few (less than 3) major continual evolutions during the life of the product.

Having the power to do something, does not mean it’s a responsible thing to do!

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