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Re: Architecture as a Separate Function

Hi Sam,

I haven't worked as a software architect within a company. My company provides architecture services (amongst other software engineering services) to other companies, and we usually have no authority whatsoever over our client's decisions; even when regarding architecture questions. We can only offer advice, and it is the client's choice to take it or ignore it.

1) Perception

Being an architect is a mediator role. Architects should be part of a client's team monitoring development, as much as they should be part of the development team working to that client's requirements. Architects shouldn't be perceived as members of either group. If this is the case, they've done something wrong. They should be perceived by either group as a champion for the other.

2) No ownership

I haven't come across a client yet, that wanted to own the non-functional requirements. This is usually the first thing we look for, and take ownership of. Formally, the NFRs are still owned by the client, but they are more than happy to go with our advice in this area.

On the other hand, if they want to own the NFRs: Good.

3) Communication and Responsibility

Communication is the most important part of the job.
Communication is the most important part of the job.
Communication is the most important part of the job.

As mentioned above, we don't have any authority over our client's decisions with regard to architecture. But you can imagine, we bear the brunt, if too many things go wrong. Therefore, I'm afraid to say, it doesn't matter how well the architecture is coded, if you don't get the communication right.

4) Firefighters and 5) Trust

As architects we can't - and shouldn't - try to fix anything when software has gone into production. Being an architect is a planning role, not a repairing role.


The architect is a mediating, communicating, planning role (with a strong background in computer sciences). No wonder there are so few of us.

I hope that my perspective has provided valuable information to you. Yours definitely made me think about the way I am being perceived by my clients.

Best regards, Kai

Re: Architecture as a Separate Function

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