Analyze, Monitor, and Fix Architectural Technical Debt
Why Architectural Observability?
Architects lack the tools and visibility to continuously monitor, detect, pinpoint, and fix application architecture drift issues from release to release, sprint to sprint. Architectural observability gives them the ability to incrementally address architectural drift and deal with the accumulation of architectural components, decisions, and drift that is turning their monoliths into unmanageable “big balls of mud.” This includes complex class entanglements, zombie dead-code, and long dependency chains across resources, classes, database tables, and more. Architectural observability enables architects to shift left into the agile and DevOps-chain realities of product teams today to create specific stories that remediate architectural technical debt one fix at a time.
Finding and Fixing Architectural Drift
Architectural drift is a divergence over time from established application architectural baselines that indicate a discrepancy between an organization’s software architectural standards and the actual observed architecture. vFunction Architectural Observability Manager allows the architect to immediately pinpoint and fix current sources of tech debt, identifying and refining domains, and uncovering the root cause of cross-domain pollution, resource interdependencies, and domain exclusivity problems. The architect can then set a baseline architectural measurement to establish thresholds for key technical debt issues such as detecting a major change in service exclusivity. vFunction measures and baselines service exclusivity to determine the percentage of independent classes and resources of a service, alerting when new dependencies are introduced that expand architectural technical debt.
Create Modernization Stories Each Sprint
Once an architectural drift event has been identified, architects can create a “to-do list” of user stories and tasks to add to the backlog and agile sprint planning process. To encourage prioritization, including the user and business impact in terms of performance, security, stability, and accelerated feature delivery is critical. Ignoring technical debt and modernization tasks results in further bloat and potential tech debt disasters. By identifying business domains within the architecture, vFunction Architectural Observability Manager helps agile teams prioritize modernization stories by domains that have critical business and user value.
According to a Gartner® report
“Applications and software engineering leaders must create a continuous modernization culture. Every product or platform team must manage their technical debt, develop a modernization strategy and continuously modernize their product and platforms — including the ecosystem. Teams must ensure that they don’t fall victim to “drift” over time.”
Source: Gartner, Use Continuous Modernization to Optimize Legacy Applications, Stefan Van Der Zijden, Deacon D.K Wan, et al…, 20 July 2022.
GARTNER is a registered trademark and service mark of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally and is used herein with permission. All rights reserved
Analyze and Baseline Your Application Architecture
The first place to start a Continuous Modernization best practice is by analyzing and baselining your application architecture. A baseline application architecture profiles an existing application and establishes a foundational basis from which to compare future architectural changes and detect architectural drift issues from this basis. vFunction Architectural Observability Manager baselines key architectural elements so you can set thresholds and be alerted proactively.
Validate Modernization Fixes, Tech Debt Improvements
An architectural event is a detected break or violation of a specific architectural baseline (such as new service detected, new common class found, new dependencies introduced (service exclusivity issue) or detection of a critical architecture issue (new dead code found, new high tech debt class identified). If left undetected and unattended to, these architectural anomalies can snowball into bigger balls of mud, affecting user and business value. Once a fix has been applied, vFunction Architectural Observability Manager can validate the fix and quantify improvements in overall technical debt scores and metrics.