TL;DR: In this article, I share some highlights of my 2023 “work year”. I will also share some notes on what keeps me busy and excited and some topics I will put more effort into in 2024.

2023 - first-year full-time at consulting

2023 has been the first year I have been entirely focused on my work as an independent consultant on consulting. Although I started consulting more than two years ago, in 2022, I still worked part of my time at Still, the focus of my work did not change dramatically from what I had been doing at from 2017 to 2022 while working as Principal Tech Lead, supporting to tackle all sorts of challenges to help its 150+ teams organization to scale a sustainable fast flow of change. However, in 2023, I have had the opportunity to work on more challenges and opportunities while collaborating with 10+ software tech-enabled organizations and hundreds of people on training workshops, coaching, and consulting sessions. I have worked on a multitude of topics on those engagements. For example:

  • Helping those organizations assess where they are and develop a more holistic understanding of their context (challenges and opportunities) concerning their teams, architecture, and overall strategy;
  • Improving thinking(& operating) models and practices (e.g., adopting and leveraging Team Topologies, accelerating adoption of Enabling Teams, and Enabling Thinking to maximize organization learning effectiveness);
  • Orienting by exploring and defining good options to invest their efforts (e.g., helping kickstart architecture modernization initiatives and better positioning their approach to Architecture);
  • Facilitate organizations in kickstarting and accelerating modernizations (e.g., coaching Architecture Modernization Enabling Teams (AMET) and teams involved in modernization efforts on topics that are still missing in the organization);
  • Coaching of Leadership and Teams (e.g., coach Architects to become “Enabling Architects” or CTOs to understand how to support their orgs’ sociotechnical systems sustainable evolution)
  • …many other things around helping software tech-enabled organizations achieve a more sustainable fast flow of change.

Collaborations & People

All these different experiences helped me to continue learning and improving my ideas to support organizations in my consulting activities. I genuinely believe that the people I work with are essential to that. From the highly engaged people I find in the organizations I work with, eager to improve things (even if the road ahead is often unclear), to the many partners (and friends) I “paired with”. Although I am an independent consultant, I do most of my work in collaboration with different colleagues - mostly with complementary skills and working on similar challenges. I want to highlight a few, namely:

  • Matthew, Manuel, Rich, João, Susanne, Carolyn, and Kenny (the “Team Topologies Core Team”) - with whom I worked on many Team Topologies-related client engagements, developments, and projects. We have made tremendous progress in creating materials, advancing foundational Thinking & platforms to continue maturing Team Topologies (and related topics). I firmly believe these elements are increasingly important to help improve the way we build and evolve organizations with more human-centric and context-aware thinking models. I am proud of being part of the Team Topologies Core Team and look forward to the many adventures ahead.
  • Nick Tune - with whom I did several “Kickstarting Architecture Modernization” engagements. Working with Nick is a unique experience: I always learn from and with him. He always listens and sees how to bring ideas or perspectives to maximize the sessions’ impact on the clients. Every day we work with clients is different; we have no definite script and explicitly embrace on-the-fly improvement. That happens in between workshop sessions or while enjoying a good dinner somewhere. His facilitation skills are unique, and I feel privileged to have witnessed several amazing moments, such as when we facilitated an Architecture Modernization Kickstart Workshop with 60+ people in a single big room. That was an extraordinary moment and probably one of the most rewarding experiences of my career. Our learnings and feedback from these immersive workshops were so positive that we decided to formalize a product offering around it to help organizations “kickstarting and accelerating architecture modernization” - you can check all the details on this website:
  • Michael Ploed - with whom I run several workshops over the last year. We have evolved a very interesting workshop and experience on Sociotechnical Systems Evolution and Architecture. This is a very hands-on and pragmatic workshop where we go over different exercises, share many experiences, and get the participants to also learn with each other. It is a truly collective learning experience. Michael knows a lot about Domain-Drive Design (DDD) but is also a very experienced and pragmatic architect who always brings the best examples and experiences to workshops. Apart from that, he has a wealth of knowledge and experience facilitating workshops - I am always learning new things with Michael.
  • …and many other great people…

Conferences and events

I was also privileged to have had the opportunity to speak at several conferences in the past year - including two keynotes on fantastic events (check all the slides and videos of my talks here: I always love speaking at conferences. It certainly makes me nervous, but at the same time, these events are great for learning from many other people and advancing your own topics - particularly the ones we are talking about. One needs to really know about the topic to be able to effectively share it with others.

talking at Craft-Conf in Budapest(talking at Craft-Conf in Budapest, May 2023)

Learnings and Topics of Expertize

With all these collaborations and experiences, I have had the opportunity to further learn and refine the three essential topics I am actively working on (on which I have written several articles and talks in the past year), namely:

  • Modernizing approaches to Architecture with “Architecture Topologies” - a term I am coining to articulate thinking models and practices that can help us better understand where we are on our approach to Architecture (in particular, how are we approaching “learning, designing and decision-making”) and how we can improve our approaches and practices to organize architecture in our organizations (teams, but also across multiple teams and the whole organization) - so we can enable a more sustainable fast flow of change;
  • Creating Effective Enabling Teams and Thinking - to help organizations become learning organizations, where knowledge flows more effectively, allowing teams to be more equipped to address their most critical challenges in the complex environment in which they operate. That also avoids siloing of knowledge, ineffective dynamics, waste, and introduction of (sociotechnical) accidental complexity and debt;
    • In the past year, a highlight on this topic has been creating the Effective Enabling Teams video course for the Team Topologies Academy with Manuel Pais, one of the co-authors of the Team Topologies book. This three-hour video course has 40+ (3-5 minute) videos, with many examples, and a comprehensive case study to consolidate the essential ideas for adopting and scaling Enabling Teams. Experiencing how much energy and effort is needed to craft such a course was humbling. From creating a flow that can help people accelerate their journey towards effectively enabling teams to record all the videos with professional support, iterate on the text, and develop exercises that maximize the learning experience… It was quite a journey, and I have learned a lot from it.
  • Sociotechnical Architecture - ideas, thinking models, and practices that embrace a more holistic approach to evolving organizations - considering environment, people, and technology. This is a topic I have been exploring for many years already and seems now to be a foundational topic on which the other topics are building upon.

Developments & Next Steps

The learnings and developments around all these topics have been crucial to inform the development of several product offerings. I am still shaping most of them, and you can check all the details on my “product page” - Here are some highlights of those products and service offerings I am focusing on (and will further develop in the coming year):

  • Effective Architecture Topologies - workshops and sessions to help organizations understand and improve their approach to architecture. Provide a solid base of understanding and language to discuss what are essential elements to improve the way the organization learns, designs, and approaches decision-making;
    • ⏭️ Next: I will create further content to increase its understanding and adoption, including articles and my talk on this topic, which I have delivered at several conferences, and I plan to do updated versions in 2024.
  • Towards Effective Enabling Teams - workshops and sessions to help organizations improve their leveraging of Enabling Teams. We explore what enabling teams are and then look at specific ways to effectively adopt or scale them in the organization by leveraging different strategies and ways to help the organization maximize learning and effectiveness.
    • ⏭️ Next: I have several articles in the pipeline on this topic to help develop it further. Furthermore, I will ramp up complementary resources for my Team Topologies Academy video course - including several GitHub repos for community collaboration and the collective advancement of this important topic.
  • Enabling Architecture & Thinking - workshops and sessions to support organizations move towards an “Enabling Thinking” approach to their Architecture approach (and in general, as a core principle for the organization’s operating model).
    • ⏭️ Next: publish several articles on this topic, which I am coining “Enabling Thinking” - a term I am adopting and increasingly using to describe key ideas that Enabling Teams tend to have, but ones that don’t necessarily need an Enabling Team to be adopted and nurtured in organizations. Continue helping organizations move towards this mindset, which seems essential to nurture dynamics that create learning organizations.
  • Effective Facilitation of Architecture Modernization - workshops and sessions around helping change agents, architects, and leaders to become more effective facilitators of architecture modernization initiatives. Basically, this articulates many learnings, strategies, tactics, methods, and tools that I have learned over many years and aims at helping up-skill the many people who will be facilitating the many different activities required to approach an architecture modernization (and overall improving the organization architectural capability);
    • ⏭️ Next: I will most likely explore a public cohort version for this workshop, which should allow a more effective collective learning experience around this topic.
  • ModernArch Consulting - this is a collaboration with Nick Tune, which we “formalized” in July 2023 - to articulate several offerings around helping organizations kickstart and accelerate architecture modernization initiatives. This consists of different bespoke workshops and sessions, in particular a 3-5 day in-person immersive workshop experience, which, from our experience, has been pivotal for organizations to kickstart or “re-energize” architecture modernization initiatives. Those sessions are preceded by several preparation sessions for a great in-person workshop. Then, we do “ongoing enablement” to help the organization (in particular, its “Architecture Modernization Enabling Team - AMET) navigate the challenges of modernization more effectively.
    • ⏭️ Next: we are exploring several new ideas to complement the core offerings we provide - for example, how to help accelerate the up-skilling of “change agents” facilitating architecture modernization efforts - with a clear “enabling thinking” mindset (as opposed to the classic controlling one).

I am exploring different formats, and most of these workshops and sessions aim to consider the participants’ (organization’s) context, challenges, and opportunities (they are not just a lecture or academic experience!). Ping me if you are interested in exploring some of these offerings (or related topics - I can also offer a more customized program to better meet your specific needs).

In 2024, I also want to restart writing more. I have several ideas in the pipeline and formats. I have several “series” planned (particularly on Effective Enabling Teams and Architecture Topologies). Still, I also want to publish more of my “discoveries and research” (things I used to write on my TLA_insights - Tech Leadership & Architecture Insights) to consolidate many of the topics I am actively exploring and learning. Stay tuned.

🎉 This has been a great year. I am incredibly excited about what is coming next: many ideas and concrete explorations to move things forward. I will continue sharing what I learn and my adventures as I go. See you around in 2024.