The Tao of the Software Architect
Lao-Tsu, revisited by Philippe Kruchten
This is a very liberal reading of Lao-Tsus Tao Te Ching for the use
of software architects, based on various French and English translations. The
number refers to the original tablets.
The architect observes the world
but trusts his inner vision.
things to come and go.
His heart is open as the sky. (12)
The architect doesn't talk, he acts.
When this is done,
the team says,
we did it, all by ourselves!" (17)
When the architect leads, the team
is hardly aware that he exists.
best is a leader that is loved.
Next, one who is feared.
The worst one who
is despised. (17)
A good traveler has no fixed plans
and is not intent upon arriving.
good artist lets his intuition
lead him wherever it wants.
scientist has freed himself of concepts
and keeps his mind open to what is.
Thus the architect is available to everybody
and doesn't reject
He is ready to use all situations
and does not waste
This is called embodying the light. (27)
If you want to shrink something,
you must first allow it to expand.
you want to get rid of something,
you must first allow it to flourish.
you want to take something,
you must first allow it to be given.
called the subtle perception
of the way things are.
The soft overcomes the
The slow overcomes the fast.
Let your workings remain a
Just show people the results. (36)
When the process is lost, there is good practice.
When good practice is
lost, there are rules.
When rules are lost, there is ritual.
Ritual is the
beginning of chaos.*(38)
The architect concerns himself
with the depth and not the surface,
the fruit and not the flower. (38)
The architect allows things to happen.
He shapes events as they
He steps out of the ways
and let the design speak for itself.
The architect gives himself up
to whatever the moment brings.
that he is going to leave,
and he has nothing left to hold on to:
illusions, no resistance in his mind.
He holds nothing back from the
therefore is ready for departure,
as a man is ready for sleep
after a good day's work.
The great way is easy,
yet programmers prefer the side paths.
when things are out of balance.
Remain centered within the design.
The architect's power is like this.
He let all things come and
effortlessly, without desire.
He never expect results;
thus he is
He is never disappointed,
thus his spirit never grows
Those who know don't talk.
Those who talk don't know. (56)
Those who do not have a clue are still debating about the process.
who know, just do it. (56)
The architect is content
to serve as an example
and not to impose his
He is pointed, but doesn't pierce.
Radiant, but easy on the eyes. (58)
If you want to be a great leader,
stop trying to control.
Let go of
fixed plans and concepts and
the team will govern itself.
prohibitions you have,
the less disciplined the team will be.
coercion you exert,
the less secure the team will be.
The more external
help you call,
the less self-reliant the team will be. (57)