Related to responsibility is authority. Having responsibility for making things happen is one thing but, if you're going to be successful, you must also have the authority to do it. If you're responsible for the overall architecture of a system, you must have the authority to make the decisions and define that architecture. Likewise for everything else you might be responsible for as a software architect, ranging from initial software selection through to defining and enforcing the coding standards. Of course, as Brian says :

... we have to be careful not to fall into the deadly cycle of becoming the decision authority for every decision.

I agree and, provided you do have the authority, you can chose to delegate the decision if you wish. That's your choice but you still hold responsibility.

If you're the architect on a software project at the moment and find yourself continually asking for permission, take a moment to ask yourself why this is. If you have the responsibility but not the authority, you could be in for a bumpy ride.

About the author

Simon is an independent consultant specializing in software architecture, and the author of Software Architecture for Developers (a developer-friendly guide to software architecture, technical leadership and the balance with agility). He’s also the creator of the C4 software architecture model and the founder of Structurizr, which is a collection of open source and commercial tooling to help software teams visualise, document and explore their software architecture.

You can find Simon on Twitter at @simonbrown ... see for information about his speaking schedule, videos from past conferences and software architecture training.

Re: Authority

Like being on a bus full of people but no one is driving but when it crashes it's *your* fault.

Re: Authority

Nice analogy. :-)

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