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Re: Why aren't software architects held accountable?

The reasons why a "building architect" is accountable are clear: their registration with the ARB or AIA indicates a level of ability and reliability that their client expects to be upheld. Software architects' roles are far less well understood. We always seem to come back to this point eventually!

While I don't necessarily believe it's a Good Thing for architects to be unaccountable for their design choices, I can imagine some reasons why they aren't:

  • Architect is no longer on the team come judgment day (too expensive/busy/important)
  • Drivers (requirements, constraints, assumptions) no longer valid
  • Design authority, and therefore responsibility, has been shared (diluted?) amongst the development team

There's a lot more that could be said about agile's positive and negative impact on responsibility and even achievement so I'll save that for a separate article :P

This is perhaps all just part of career growth: team members improve and take responsibility (either as a group or individually) and in so doing inherit the responsibility for decisions already made.

This is not to say that this is necessarily a Bad Thing, either! We're not involved in civil engineering and just as we don't require the same time and cost for our projects we wouldn't necessarily expect to be held accountable in the same way. Not least to avoid Analysis Paralysis.

Re: Why aren't software architects held accountable?

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