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Re: Why aren't software architects held accountable?

I think they are held accountable... but in different ways than you might think. Architects are not only responsible for deciding how to technically implement something. They are resposible for the skills of the technical teams they work with, the technology platform, assisting with planning (Particularly prioritization of tasks vis-a-vie technology, availability), technology strategy, and last but by no means least communication with developers to ensure that they understand what is expected of the team. So how does a project usually go on the rocks? The first indicator is often some sort of slippage... in the time line, feature set, or approach to implementation. Why does this occur? There are *many* reasons, but consider this: An architecture can be proposed for a sub-system or component and a development team could "spin" on the implementation... for a number of reasons: insufficient understanding of the technical design, a gap in their own technical skills, or the architecture may have highly complex implementation requirements. Looking at each scenario: Insufficient team understanding - This would ultimately be a failure of the architect to communicate sufficiently with the team and ensure appropriate "hand-off" of the technical design. A gap in developer/team technical skills - This is a failure of the architect as a coach and mentor. Part of an architects job is to assess team skills and facilitate growth in the development staff so that developers can perform the technical tasks that they require. Architecture with highly complex implementation requirements - Architectures must be matured to ensure a clearly defined and reasonable effort and approach to implementation and it is the responsibility of the architect to do this. If you look at all of these failings they do come back to the architect, but in a more systemic way. The converstation that I as a Director would have with an Architect in these scenarios is much more about their job performance and those are conversations that SHOULD be held privately. In contrast, a teams failure to deliver a unit of work through splippage, etc is an event that SDLCs and Project Manangement methodologies purposefully make very visible. That is why the focus is on overall team committment and delivery not the individual. My point: architects are held responsible... privately. They are leaders of the technical team and as a result their failure is viewed as an individuals failure. Since their individual failings translate directly into their reviews whereas team failings have far less impact on individual reviews, these matters are typically handled privately.

Re: Why aren't software architects held accountable?


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