Question Posed: Cultivating Good System Architects

While on my latest trip to London, I was posed the question: “What does it take the cultivate good System Architects within you organization?”

As I’m currently sitting in the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse waiting for my flight back to the states, I don’t have the time to answer this question in full. And actually, I’m posting this more for me than for my readers. I want to think about the answer to this question and what better way than to force myself into a two part blog article.

Most IT organizations throw around the word “Architect” all to easily when we title someone.

The truth is hiring or growing a real system architect is harder than most people think.

I mentioned to someone asking me this question that when giving year end reviews to my most senior developers I always mention the 5 attributes that make up a strong architect, and a all around solid developer who will have the potential to grow into an Architect for my organization.

These 5 elements relate to how developers and architects MUST think when they design and construct systems. Any system we build to be truly enterprise class must be: Stable, ScalableFlexible, Extensible, and Easily Maintainable. The last thing we want is to design an implement a system that only the original designers or developers can maintain.

If your staff can design and implement system that meet these 5 requirements, than I feel those people are worth pushing towards an architect role, where they can start getting their feet wet with design larger components and eventually entire systems on their own for you.

I want to explore this question further in a future post, where we discuss how to test and allow senior developers to prove that they can represent you as a system owner in architectural discussions not only as a leader in your group, but also in sessions with other peer groups, so that your organization appears competent to both clients of your services and providers of services.

Just Another Stream of Random Bits…
– Robert C. Ilardi
 
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