It has been my experience that architects, as technical leaders, have three primary objectives within an organization. Namely, architects
- Develop and implement solutions to the most challenging technical problems
- Achieve organizational commitment to solve these technical problems in an enduring way, and
- Teach and develop others to solve technical problems in a manner consistent with architectural principles.
To achieve this, architects need a balance of technical and soft skills. Architects need to be able to influence without authority, negotiate to get the best possible outcomes, and have leadership presence to ensure that they have a voice at the table. I have never had an IT or business stakeholder complain that one of our architects was not “technical” enough. On the other hand, I have had some tough conversations concerning communications skills or an unbending ideology, to name a few. It is useful to note that only one of the five components of Dana Bredemeyer’s Architect Competency Framework (PDF) focuses on an architect’s technical competency.
Most of the time that I spend in developing our architects is focused on the other four components that include consulting skills and organizational politics.
I look forward to exploring this topic more fully at SATURN 2011.
– Jeff Tyree, Senior Director, IT Architecture, Capital One Financial Corporation