Apiumhub Interviews Michael Keeling at GSAS 2022

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Last October, Apiumhub organized the Global Software Architecture Summit in Barcelona. This event featured over 20 talks and workshops by experts in the software architecture industry, including Michael Keeling, author of “Design It!: From Programmer to Software Architect.” Michael traveled all the way from the United States to impart his hands-on workshop, “Become a Software Design Company,” together with George Fairbanks, a Software Engineer at Google.
We interviewed Michael during the workshop break to learn more about his experience as a speaker at the conference and also get to know more about his chapter in the recently published book by O’Reilly Software Architecture Metrics.

Briefly introduce yourself

My name is Michael Keeling, and I am a senior staff software engineer at Kiavi, a Fintech company based out of Pittsburgh and San Francisco in the US.

What can you say about the Global Software Architecture Summit this year?

My favorite thing about the Global Software Architecture Summit this year is getting to see everybody in person. We are in the middle of a workshop right now. This would be the first time running a face-to-face workshop with everyone, and it’s so amazing to see everyone work together in small groups and get to ask and answer questions. I didn’t realize how much I missed that.

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What software architecture metrics do you normally use?

I usually use the ones that are in our observability platform, so really it’s focused on runtime quality attributes, availability metrics, performance, and looking at the scale. Performance has been a big one for us recently, seeing what our throughput and load are on the different web services that we have. There are a lot of metrics I wish we would use more, having to do with the design time measures, so questions that I am curious about are: how well is the software serving the team or how quickly are we able to introduce meaningful changes to the architecture?

What are the key software architecture insights you could share with GSAS attendees?

In the workshop that we are doing right now at the conference, something that has come up a few times, kind of generic advice but also important, is that there’s really no one-size-fits-all answer to all design problems. Sometimes, the solution that works great on one team may not be the right fit in your context, and figuring that out is hard. And it’s okay that it’s hard because software design is challenging, but if we work together, we can achieve really awesome things.

Can you briefly comment on your Software Architecture Metrics book chapter?

The Software Architecture Metrics book was a really cool experience. I had the privilege of having the last chapter in the book, so I kind of got to offer a perspective that summarized in a way everything that had happened up to that moment. I chose to focus on things that I find most interesting, which is design methods, so my chapter was on the goal-question metric approach. It’s kind of a workshop to help you figure out what metrics you actually might want to use, which I believe is a fantastic complement to the rest of the book, which is very concrete case studies and specific metrics that other teams have found successful.

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Interested in knowing more about other speakers that attended the conference? Read the GSAS 2022 recap. You can also watch more videos from the GSAS, including talks, testimonials, and interviews, on Apiumhub’s YouTube channel.

And if you are interested in attending GSAS this year, you still have time to get your ticket here. This year GSAS will take place on October 9–11 at the Axa Auditorium in sunny Barcelona.

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