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.

9 comments:

Malik Gaston said...

In architecture, there are sets of principles and approaches that you need to follow so that everything will go smoothly and perfectly. However, there are times that you need to see the bigger picture and try to break these principles. Well, there are people who see things differently and are noticed more often than those people who simply meet the rules. Don’t be afraid to go out of your comfort zone. You need to do it once in a while. :)

Malik Gaston

Teo T said...

Very interesting blog! Lots of useful tips and advice for aspiring programmers. I work for a new social blogging site called glipho.com, and was just wondering if you would be interested in sharing your posts there with us? It wouldn't affect your blog here in any way, and I know there are lots of developers within our community that would love to read through your work. Let me know what you think!

All the best,

Teo

Leo Shuster said...

Teo, sure, I wouldn't mind sharing my posts at your site.

Isabella watson said...

This is very nice and informative post.. Thanks for sharing..

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Jeremiah Shapera said...

Leo, Thanks for sharing. It is strange, and problematic, that architecture remains a mystery to so many. My career in architecture so far has concentrated on smaller enterprises. The needs are very different for managing technology decisions with a group of 10-50 developers as opposed to hundreds or thousands, yet the needs for governance and business/technology alignment remain the same. This means that an architect in a small shop must shift focus from strategic to tactical on an almost daily basis depending on the audience. I agree that the primary focus is still strategic application of technology to support and enhance business goals, but staying out of the details and making tactical decisions is a luxury reserved for architects at large enterprises.

Azaleah Banks said...

I admire all architect... I admire they creativeness..
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Arvie Wilson said...

it is so true... I admired them a lot..
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Naviya Nair said...

Great Article..
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John Adam said...

what is Computer architecture?
Business Architecture