The Role of the Architect

I’m emerging from the haze of planning for my upcoming Architect Boot Camp classes.  My focus is editing my book, and between questions about “which course do I take” and “am I suited to be an architect”, I figured I’d write a series of posts related to the Architect’s Role.

The Architect’s Role

Problems are well less defined for an architect and they must spend the time to ensure that a context has been set before they go about assessing their problem.  They must ensure that the scope and the boundaries of the problem are very well defined. The primary activity of the architect is to focus on the implications of the organizations objectives on technical choices. They must understand all of the over-arching dynamics and impacts in making such choices, as well as  leading a team of developers, integrators and implementers in the prescribed certain path.

The architect must contain and sustain an overall system view at all times while designing a solution.   The architect builds models of the problem and the solution space and must possess a very analytical and conceptual mind in order to visualize how the pieces may fit.   They must also have a strong ability to recognize patterns and apply things and concepts that they’ve known from their past when they approach new solutions.

Architects explore alternative approaches to almost every solution that is presented to them. They must view and take into account all of the different aspects within the organization such as people, process and technology, as well as technology, data, and applications when determining which approach they will take.  Architects spend a great deal of their time preparing documents, positions, presentations and diagrams, and they must be very strong in communication skills as well as their diagramming and documentation skills.

They must be very good modelers and able to adapt to varying levels of tools and be able to quickly pick up the skills required in order to use these tools readily.   Architects must have a strong business sense, and the ability to scale down or tailor up explanations of architecture to sponsors and stake holders as well as technical staff.  As you see, they must be able to describe things at very detailed levels for technology staff and implementers as well at the highest granular level for the business in order to demonstrate that they understand the business problem.

Success for an architect depends on skills and characteristics that are not typically emphasized in university curricula or on the job training.   An architect gains experience during their years within information technology.  They merge experience they may have gained from other careers and depends on their experience and their keen business sense in order to propose solutions.  They diagram &  document their solutions, and solve the largest and most complex technology problems for the organization.

More on the specific types of architects another day.

Have thoughts on this post?  Drop me a comment.

Happy Architecting!

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