Architecture has become a very slippery word in the software business. It's hard to come up with any solid definition of what it means. I see it as a fundamentally subjective termwhen people describe their software architecture they select the important parts of their systems, how these parts fit together, and the key decisions they made in designing their systems. Architecture is also seen as a technical issue, with the implication that the key decisions that need to be made are technical decisions.
In talking with Luke over the last few years I've really enjoyed the fact that he talks about the kinds of things that are often sadly omitted from most architectural discussionsyet are every bit as important. Such things as the marketing view of a system, licensing terms, branding, deployment, billing. All of these issues have important technical and business implications. Senior technical people need to think about this stuff, or otherwise a technically capable system could fail to be good business decision.
Many of these issues matter most to people who sell software to other entities. But even if you're an architect of an in-house IS shop these issues are just as likely to trip you up. Licensing agreements with your vendors can make a big difference to the costs of the software you deploy, billing may become important if your business decides it wants to introduce a charge-back scheme, branding helps affect your visibility to the business side of your company.
Luke writes from the perspective of someone who has dealt with both the technical and business sides of software development. It's a duality I find appealing because it's led him to ponder issues that often don't get talked about. He shows that it's often the things you don't think to worry about that hurt you the most and in the process provides the advice you need to deal with them. As a result this book is a much needed compliment to the technical aspects of software design.