Simon Brown

Software Architecture Speaker Trainer Author Blogger Founder Consultant Coder

I help teams worldwide understand software architecture; author, award-winning speaker, coder, creator of the "C4 model", founder of Structurizr and independent consultant with clients in 20+ countries.

I'm an independent software development consultant specialising in software architecture; specifically technical leadership, communication and lightweight, pragmatic approaches to software architecture. I'm the author of Software Architecture for Developers, which is a developer-friendly guide to software architecture, technical leadership and the balance with agility. I'm also the creator of the C4 software architecture model and I built Structurizr, which is a web-based tool to create software architecture diagrams based upon the C4 model.

I regularly speak at software development conferences, meetups and organisations around the world; delivering keynotes, presentations and workshops about software architecture. In 2013, I won the IEEE Software sponsored SATURN 2013 "Architecture in Practice" Presentation Award for my presentation about the conflict between agile and architecture. I've spoken at events and/or have clients in the following countries.

Australia Australia Belgium Belgium Canada Canada China China Czech Republic Czech Republic Denmark Denmark Finland Finland

France France Germany Germany Guernsey Guernsey Hong Kong Hong Kong Hungary Hungary Ireland Iceland Ireland Ireland

Italy Italy Jersey Jersey Latvia Latvia Lithuania Lithuania The Netherlands The Netherlands New Zealand New Zealand Norway Norway

Poland Poland Portugal Portugal Romania Romania Spain Spain Sweden Sweden Switzerland Switzerland Ukraine Ukraine

United Arab Emirates United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United Kingdom United States United States

Contact me

The best way to contact me is via e-mail at or @simonbrown on Twitter.

A lightweight, pragmatic approach to software architecture

I believe that a lightweight approach to software architecture is pivotal to successfully delivering software, and that it can complement agile approaches rather than compete against them. After all, a good architecture enables agility and this doesn't happen by magic.

In a nutshell, my lightweight approach to software architecture includes doing "just enough" up front design to understand the significant structural elements of the software, some lightweight sketches to communicate that vision to the team and ensuring that the highest priority risks are identified and mitigated. I use a technique that I call "risk-storming" as a visual and collaborative way to identify those risks. The code doesn't tell the whole story, so I deliver a lightweight software guidebook as supplementary documentation.

The image that many people have of software architects is of traditional "ivory tower" software architects dictating instructions to an unsuspecting development team. It doesn't need to be like this though, with modern software architects preferring an approach that favours coding, coaching and collaborative design. The software architecture role doesn't necessarily need to be undertaken by a single person plus coding is a great way to understand whether the resulting architecture is actually going to work.

Software Architecture for Developers: Volume 1

The C4 model

Simple sketches for diagramming your software architecture summarises my "C4 model" for describing, visualising and communicating software architecture. It's a simple hierarchical way to think about the static structures of a software system in terms of containers, components and classes.

A software system is made up of one or more containers (web applications, mobile apps, standalone applications, databases, file systems, etc), each of which contains one or more components, which in turn are implemented by one or more classes.

Visualising this hierarchy is then done by creating a collection of system context, container, component and (optionally) class diagrams. For me, a common set of abstractions is more important than a common notation, so I don't use UML for most of this. Maps are a great example of this principle in action. They all tend to show roads, rivers, lakes, forests, towns, churches, etc but they often use different notation in terms of colour-coding, line styles, iconography, etc. The key to understanding them is exactly that, a key/legend tucked away in a corner somewhere. We can do the same with our software architecture diagrams or use a notation that is much more self-describing.

Software Architecture for Developers: Volume 2


I regularly deliver sessions about software architecture at conferences, user groups and organisations around the world; including opening keynotes, closing keynotes, conference talks, panel sessions and workshops. In 2013, I won the IEEE Software sponsored SATURN 2013 "Architecture in Practice" Presentation Award for my talk about the conflict between agile and architecture. Here is my public speaking schedule for 2016.

2016 schedule

YOW! 2014

The 'Architecture in Practice' award from SATURN 2013

The Art of Visualising Software Architecture
My keynote at nCrafts 2016 in Paris, France

Software architecture as code
Recorded at Devoxx Belgium 2015 in Antwerp, Belgium

Software architecture vs code
My closing keynote at DevDay 2014 in Krakow, Poland

Agility and the essence of software architecture
Recorded at CRAFT 2014 in Budapest, Hungary


All of the slides from past talks are available to view online/download. Here are the slides from some of my recent talks and workshops.


I've been interviewed for magazines, books and podcasts a number of times too, including:


I regularly run training courses, including a 1-day "The Art of Visualising Software Architecture" workshop and a 2-day "Software Architecture for Developers" course. Most courses are private, on-site courses for organisations around the world, but there are usually a small number of public courses each year. Read more...


Both my Software Architecture for Developers: Volume 1 and Software Architecture for Developers: Volume 2 e-books are available to buy from Leanpub. A Chinese translation of "Software Architecture for Developers" is also available, and more translations are in progress.

I've also authored and co-authored a number of books about enterprise Java, and contributed to others. Additionally, I write articles for InfoQ, Methods & Tools, Voxxed, etc too.

Software Architecture for Developers: Volume 1
Software Architecture for Developers: Volume 2

Software Architecture for Developers Pro JSP 2 Pro JSP 3rd Edition Professional JSP Tag Libraries Professional Java Servlets 2.3 Professional JSP 2nd Edition


I regularly blog about software architecture on Coding the Architecture, which is a website that I created back in January 2006 to provide a resource for aspiring and new software architects, particularly those who favour an approach that is a little more "hands-on" than your traditional "ivory-tower architect".


Some of my popular blog posts have been translated.


I'm the founder of Structurizr, which is a Software as a Service product to help teams visualise, document and explore the architecture of their software systems. It's a Java, HTML5, CSS and JavaScript web application running on Pivotal Web Services.

Structurizr - create web-based software architecture diagrams using code

Software architecture diagrams are a great way to explain and document how a software system works. Static diagrams, whether drawn on a whiteboard or with a general purpose diagramming tool such as Microsoft Visio, tend to get out of date quickly and often don't reflect the structure of the code. On the other hand, automatically generated diagrams, such as UML class diagrams created by reverse-engineering the code, typically show far too much detail, limiting their usefulness.

A software architecture sketch

Have you abandoned UML and switched back to "boxes and lines"?

A software architecture sketch

Do your software architecture diagrams look like this?

A software architecture sketch

Do your diagrams get out of date quickly?

An automatically generated UML class diagram

Do you feel overwhelmed by automatically generated diagrams?

Structurizr provides a way to create software architecture models using code. There are client libraries available for Java and .NET, which allow you to extract information from your code using static analysis and reflection. The resulting diagrams can be visualised and shared via the web. Here is an embedded software architecture diagram powered by Structurizr and the code that created this diagram can be found on GitHub.


The first ~15 years of my career were spent working for consulting companies (primarily in London) and, although I predominantly built software for our customers, I have also performed a number of consulting roles. These included software architecture reviews, software archaeology, architecture strategy work, technical due diligence, process engineering, being a trusted advisor, developer mentoring and coaching, rescuing failing software projects, performance testing, creating technical career frameworks and training plans, etc.


I've written a lot of code during my career, primarily in Java and C#. You can find a bunch of random code on my GitHub account, plus I built most of what you see at

Digital scrapbook

I keep a digital scrapbook of my work-related stuff on Pinterest.

I also use Instagram to capture photos from Jersey and my travels around the world.

Greve de Lecq #jerseyci #jerseychannelislands

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The post-surf sunset! #jerseyci #jerseychannelislands #stouen #sunset

A photo posted by Simon Brown (@simonbrowndotje) on

Seymour Tower #jerseyci #JerseyMemory

A photo posted by Simon Brown (@simonbrowndotje) on

A cup of tea at The Hungry Man #jerseyci

A photo posted by Simon Brown (@simonbrowndotje) on

The cycle ride to the top of L'etacq is worth it... #jerseyci #jerseyinsta

A photo posted by Simon Brown (@simonbrowndotje) on