Friday, August 31, 2012

The Architect Manifesto

IT architecture is a well defined profession. It was in existence ever since computers were first created in the 1940s and software needed to be developed for them. While it became more formalized only in the 1980s, the profession took huge steps forward in the last 30 years. Today, the world of IT architecture includes such disciplines as SOA, integration architecture, system architecture, data architecture, security architecture, etc. Yet, despite all of its different facets, IT architecture core practices, goals, and approaches remain the same across all of its disciplines.

There are several key principles that help us become successful as IT architects. No matter what problems we face, no matter what types of solution we need to apply, no matter what technologies we use, these general guidelines should always be followed. This forms the basis for the Architect Manifesto.

My research indicates that there have been multiple attempts at defining an Architect Manifesto. None of them seem to have succeeded or gained traction. Yet, I am certain that we, as architects, need the guiding light of a set of principles that will guide us in everything we do. We already unconsciously understand and follow them, but a formal definition will strengthen and inspire us. This is my attempt at verbalizing what we already know and apply in everyday work – the Architect Manifesto.

We, IT architects, guide the design and evolution of computer systems. We strive to achieve maximum value for our business partners through this work. We constantly discover better ways to architect systems. As a result, we have come to value:

Simplicity over complexity
Pragmatism over perfectionism
Thinking out of the box over applying the same approaches to every problem
Developing technology agnostic solutions over making technology driven decisions
Delivering solutions to the business problems over concentrating purely on technology deliverables
Looking at the big picture over getting too deep into details
Long term, strategic thinking over short term, tactical thinking

That is, while there is a place for the tactics on the right, we should strive towards approaches on the left.

I would appreciate feedback from all of the architects out there to make this manifesto more complete and relevant.