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Tech Lead Journal

155 EpisodesProduced by Henry SuryawirawanWebsite

Great technical leadership requires more than just great coding skills. It requires a variety of other skills that are not well-defined, and they are not something that we can fully learn in any school or book. Hear from experienced technical leaders sharing their journey and philosophy for building… read more


#113 - Architecture Decision Record (ADR) - Michael Keeling

“An ADR is a simple text file describing the context, the decision, and the consequences of a single architectural decision stored in the version control repository."

Michael Keeling is an experienced software engineer, architect, and the author of “Design It!: From Programmer to Software Architect”. In this episode, Michael shared in-depth about ADR. He first shared his story of discovering ADR before describing what an ADR is. Michael then shared the objectives and benefits of using ADR to record architecture decisions and explained the key behavior changes happening when we practise ADR. Towards the end, Michael shared a few practical tips on creating and updating ADR, some patterns and anti-patterns he observed from his experience, and suggestions on how we can practise ADR effectively as a team.

Listen out for:

  • Career Journey - [00:05:02]
  • Discovering ADR - [00:07:05]
  • ADR - [00:08:57]
  • ADR Objectives - [00:11:18]
  • Facilitating Good Design - [00:12:31]
  • Not Capturing Design Decisions - [00:15:06]
  • Distance Between Developers and Design - [00:17:19]
  • Key Behaviour Changes - [00:19:11]
  • Recent Popularity - [00:22:11]
  • ADR Tips - [00:24:31]
  • When to Create an ADR - [00:26:36]
  • Updating Previous ADR - [00:27:55]
  • Diagrams - [00:29:28]
  • ADR Patterns - [00:31:06]
  • ADR Anti-Patterns - [00:32:48]
  • Doing ADR as a Team - [00:34:25]
  • 3 Tech Lead Wisdom - [00:37:05]


Michael Keeling’s Bio
Michael Keeling is a software engineer at Kiavi and the author of Design It!: From Programmer to Software Architect. Prior to Kiavi, he worked at IBM on the Watson Discovery Service and has experience with a variety of software systems including service-oriented architectures, enterprise search systems, and even combat systems. Michael is an award-winning speaker and regularly participates in the architecture and agile communities. He holds a Masters in Software Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University and a BS in Computer Science from the College of William and Mary. His current research interests include software design methods, patterns, and human factors of software engineering.

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