Monday, June 09, 2008


Are you an Armchair Architect?

An armchair architect is one who can solve all the software world's problems from his armchair but considers actual implementation to be out of scope...

Awhile back, I had an interesting conversation with some "architects" who were employed by an Indian outsourcing firm. They were intrigued by one of the projects I am leading and wanted to participate until I got to my usual interview question inquiring as to whether they believed that architects should code? There was dead silence. I think writing code is viewed as a second class responsibility in a country who seeks more of it.

Anyway, there is an emerging trend where architects only spend time in their chosen IDE's that include Visio and Powerpoint while keeping their hands clean of actual low-level details. Sooner or later, architects who don't write code any longer will cause long term harm to what they otherwise are tasked with improving. Many architects I know, have lots of seemingly great ideas that will be all things to all people but they avoid testing them with anything as crude as reality or working code.

Maybe a best practice for armchair architects is to actually keep them away from code and let them spend time drawing IT executive cartoons...

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