Monday, April 14, 2008


Architects, who needs them...

Figured I would share a perspective as to why the IT Architect ranks should be reduced in large enterprises...

Recently, I read the most wonderful posting on why the role of architect needs to disappear. Reality says that time proven theories such as Deming proved that enterprises need to delegate a lot lower than what is currently happening. Reality says that architects, if anything with their governance models are headed in the exact opposite direction. While there has been short term lift from these approaches, the long term consequences aren't well understood.

Of course, you have to acknowledge that there are different types of architects within large enterprises. First, there are architects who are assigned to projects. These folks are the antithesis to agility at one level but also being squeezed by those even less agile at the top. Part of the rationale for having the title of architect has less to do with role and more to do with job grade. How do HR weenies delineate two people who are both senior?

If you were to study cause and effect, the role of architect also means the one who governs code that is developed offshore. Since Indian outsourcing as it is commonly practiced means that even architects don't necessarily talk to programmers (I can't call anyone in India a developer) someone else has to have local authority to say that things have gone haywire. This is the new meaning of architect in a non-agile world.

The second type of architect is best known as an Enterprise Architect which is less about projects and the building trade analogy and more about managing a portfolio. The investment analogy works better than the building trades here. Architects here figure out strategies around arbitrage, when to buy, when to sell and so on. For this role, the is less about agility in the sense of agile software development and more about governance in terms of a behavior model.

So, my conclusion says that we need less project-oriented architects and more enterprise-oriented architects. Of course, others have their own thoughts that I would love to hear and it would be great if you could respond via trackback...

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