Ruth Malan

Bredemeyer Consulting Resources for Software Architects

Visual Architecting Action Guide

Trace in the Sand

Architecture and
Design Leadership
Training and Consulting

Software and
Systems Architecture

Traces on Architects and Architecture

My architecture journal notes are called traces, underscoring the informal format. A sampling follows.


  • Do we still need architects?
    "Someone [...] needs to be attending to the system as a system - one that exists in the context of other systems, with all of their respective forces and demands."
  • Do architects need to code?
    "[Yes. That said,] as the architectural scope of what an architect is responsible for increases [from application to enterprise, from product to product line to chief architect, etc], we need to rely on the architect's judgment as to where they need to spend their attention cycles"
  • Good, Right, and Successful
  • Does the title "architect" matter?
    But architect throws the emphasis onto system design concerns [..] Recall: the system needs to be attended to as a system. For emphasis -- if this is not someone's responsibility, it is no-one's paramount responsibility, and it will lose out in the day-to-day, to more local demands. If we focus on parts, without system design context, we are in danger of ending up with "parts flying in formation, trying to be an airplane."

Visual Thinking and Visual Design:

Sampling of Other Topics


Twitter: @RuthMalan

LinkedIn: Ruth Malan

Email: Ruth Malan

Conferences: Ruth Malan will be leading a working session on Design Leadership, SATURN 2019: May 6-9, Pittsburgh, PA


I am a senior consultant with Bredemeyer Consulting. I work primarily with architects (from enterprise architects and chief architects, to system and product architects and tech leads) and with teams, on system and software architecture and design. This work depends on the point in the system lifecycle -- ranging from strategy and design incubator work in early stages, to architecture assessment and renewal for legacy systems. We coach architects and teams, help document architecture for teams moving through rapid transitions, facilitate technology strategy and/or architectural design sessions and reviews, and more. We also help design design (how to integrate architecture and agile, for your teams) and we help design architect development programs, with a combination of training and mentoring.


Open Enrollment Dates

Architecture Workshops

Architecture encompasses strategically and structurally significant system design decisions -- decisions that impact agility, system integrity and sustainability (in technical, economic, organizational, and environmental terms). System design addresses key challenges and tradeoffs, to create systems with the desired capabilities and properties taking into account customers and users as well as operations and development teams. Moreover, these systems are co-evolving within broader socio-technical systems. It is demanding work with a lot riding on guiding and informing decisions that impact the system as it evolves. While experience is a critical base on which to build, training can be useful, drawing out what's been learned as it applies to systems design, and adding concepts, techniques and heuristics to that base. Our workshops focus on system design, and the role of architects (whatever their title, for developers and tech leads may be doing system design).

Our (enterprise, system and software, respectively) architecture workshops have an emphasis on situated learning, where small teams work on creating a draft architecture, drawing on the models and guidance in visual architecting. We work iteratively, and weave concepts and architecting techniques into lectures/discussion that bookend work sessions. Hence, the order of lecture topics is driven by the concerns that are being addressed at that stage of the architecting process. This makes it a "non-traditional" format, but it is one that works well as it allows us to work end-to-end through the creation of a draft architecture.

We primarily run in-house workshops, with a few of open enrollment workshops each year. Upcoming open Software Architecture Workshops:

  • Dallas, TX, April 29-May 2, 2019 (Instructor: Ruth Malan)
  • Rotterdam, The Netherlands, September 9-12, 2019 (Instructor: Dana Bredemeyer)
  • Chicago-Schaumburg, IL, October 1-4, 2019 (Instructor: Ruth Malan)
  • Johannesburg, South Africa, December 10-13, 2019 (Instructor: Dana Bredemeyer/Ruth Malan)

Design Leadership and Other Skills Workshops

When we talk about design leadership, we mean it in both senses — design leadership in the market, and design leadership in the organization. In this workshop, we explore what that means and how we develop design excellence and leadership in ourselves, and nurture it in our teams. Our workshops combine a base in theory with practice elements, working in small teams. We cover essential topics in system design; strategic context understanding and shaping; organizational skills including communication and influence; and how to be a more effective technical leader.

4-day open enrollment Design Leadership and Other Skills::

We also run shorter versions, focused on Technical Leadership, Systems Design for multifunctional teams, etc. Upcoming 1-day open enrollment master classes:

  • Technical Leadership, Indianapolis, IN, on July 29, 2019
  • Strategy for Technical Leaders, Indianapolis, IN, on August 26, 2019

These 1-day classes are designed to be standalone, but form good companion classes in a curriculum for architects, product owners and product managers, senior UX designers,and senior developers. CTOs and CIOs may be interested, as it creates a common basis of understanding with other technical leaders on their teams.

Contact me for availability and pricing if you want to tun any of our workshops in-house: Ruth Malan at

My Papers and Other Writing

Posts on LinkedIn:

Slidesets from Conference talks:

Cutter Consortium Enterprise Architecture Executive Reports:


Workshop Reviews

"Highly recommend taking one of @ruthmalan’s workshops" -- Phillip Johnston

"I use what I learned from y'all every day" -- Eric S.

"I’d strongly recommend this course to both aspiring and practicing architects [..]. I consider the Bredemeyer course to be one of the best professional investments I have ever made and I absolutely intend to make more." -- Mark Mullin

"I took @ruthmalan's software architecture workshop in the fall. We collaborated in teams to solve a business problem then compared our approaches and outcomes. So much learning." -- Susan Almon

"I took this course 10+ years ago. Still use what I learned on a daily basis." -- Eelco Rommes

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Copyright 2004-2019 by Ruth Malan
Page Created: April 19, 2004
Last Modified: January 13, 2019