Good architecture is built incrementally, but not designed incrementally. The active-active, sharded architecture that powers Shopify today was drawn on a whiteboard in 2014 (not designed incrementally), and it took ~6 years to fully materialize, with a major customer-facing milestone every year (built incrementally). We would’ve hit a local maxima if we had not intentionally spelled this out.

The Napkin Math Methodology for System Design
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