The Role of the
Who creates Enterprise Architectures?
Architects! What is an architect? Someone who creates architectures! In
truth, this is a fairly new discipline, and many organizations have just
recently created the role of the architect.
A simplistic view of the role is that architects create
architectures, and their responsibilities encompass all that is involved in doing so. This
would include articulating the architectural vision, conceptualizing and experimenting
with alternative architectural approaches, creating models and architecture specification
documents or blueprints, and validating the architecture against requirements and
However, any experienced architect knows that the role
involves not just these technical activities, but others that are more political and
strategic in nature on the one hand, and more like those of a consultant, on the other. A
sound sense of business and technical strategy is required to envision the
"right" architectural approach to the customer's problem set, given the business
objectives of the architect's organization. Activities in this area include the creation
of technology roadmaps, making assertions about technology directions and determining
their consequences for the technical strategy and hence architectural approach.
Further, architectures are seldom embraced without
considerable challenges from many fronts. The architect thus has to shed any distaste for
what may be considered "organizational politics", and actively work to sell the
architecture to its various stakeholders, communicating extensively and working networks
of influence to ensure the ongoing success of the architecture.
But "buy-in" to the architecture vision is not
enough either. Anyone involved in implementing the architecture needs to understand it.
Since weighty architectural documents are notorious dust-gatherers, this involves creating
and teaching tutorials and actively consulting on the application of the architecture, and
being available to explain the rationale behind architectural choices and to make
amendments to the architecture when justified.
Lastly, the architect must lead--the architecture team, the
developer community, and, in its technical direction, the organization.
Bredemeyer, Dana. "James Madison and the Role of the
Bredemeyer, Dana and Ruth Malan. The
Role of the
Architect (.pdf, 40kb), June Issue of the EWITA Newsletter http://www.ewita.com/newsletters/10021.htm.
Lewis, R., Architect? A Candid Guide to
the Profession. MIT Press, 1998. (Note: This book is about the building architect
Who?: The Architect, HP
Software Architecture Web Site, http://www.architecture.external.hp.com/Overview/arch_who_architect.htm
Malan, Ruth and Dana
Bredemeyer, Architecture Teams, http://www.bredemeyer.com/Architecture_Teams.htm
Rechtin, E. Systems Architecting:
Creating and Building Complex Systems. Prentice-Hall, 1991. (Note: Ch. 14 is quite
relevant to software architects.)