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Michael Flanakin's blog Food for thought...

Wow, I don't think that I have ever had an issue of VSM that was as “thought provoking” as this one. First up: Special Issue 2003 or 1983 by Mark Nelson of Seattle...

So, Mark points out some problems with his experience with what seems to be architects. First off, I'd have to say that everyone should question any sentence with the word “architecture” in it - I know I do. For those who understand what architecture and design principles are truly about, I'm sure you know what I mean. I've met a lot of “architects,” but only a handful of architects. Most are just senior developers, if that. There's something to software architecture that people just don't understand; especially people that develop with Microsoft-based technologies. Moving on.

Mark seems to have been inandated with the people I was talking about above. Well, Mark, let me explain something to you: despite your bad experiences, I will guarrantee you that having an architect can mean the life and death of a project. I will say, however, that not all projects need an architect. Typically, only the large systems do; but, the smaller systems would benefit from the skills of a true architect. If management hires an architect without consulting with the lead developer(s), then there's a fundamental problem. The lead developer(s) need to have buy-in on the reasoning behind having an architect. If you don't have that, then of course they're not going to be worth anything - the developers will probably ignore what s/he says.

Now, any architect that focuses solely on what Microsoft says is not a good architect. Microsoft has a lot of intelligent people, but we all know that they make their decisions based on marketing. This does take a lot of work, however. I continually have to argue my point as to why Microsoft is wrong when claiming a best practice. Two words: web services. I won't get into it hear, but I'm sure a lot of you know what I mean.

I don't know what your experiences have been, but I was quite offended after reading your letter. I'm sorry that you've had the experiences that you have, but perhaps you should take a step back and see what architecture is all about. For some reason, I'd have to say that you don't fully understand it - as most people don't, developers and “architects,” alike.

Posted on Friday, January 23, 2004 5:30 PM Development , Architecture , last2 | Back to top

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