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To achieve impact at the speed of digital, Architects need to master this defining skill

What differentiates a good Architect from a great one? Here's our take on a key role that drives the quality of a digital solution.

min read

Architects play a major role in the quality of a digital solution. They are key to achieving the aspired business outcomes in a timely and flexible manner. Yet the title 'Architect' has many incarnations when it comes to the responsibilities, skills and expected results it covers. Good Architects grasp the bigger picture of the desired outcome and inspire them with technological know-how. But truly great architecture extends beyond ivory tower diagrams and reports. The magic happens when they are able to combine their bigger picture understanding with a deep understanding of the engineering process and business context, through which they are able to break down multi-facetted problems and decisions into ones that can be taken at a local and isolated level - enabling speed and flexibility.

Architects in the software world might just be record holders in job titles. They’ve been labeled Software Architects, Cloud Architects, Enterprise Architects, Cloud Software Architects, and probably some more. In most cases for good reason: to have a clear focus on their role in a team, with all minds aligned on reaching business goals together.

Above all, it is a role that exceeds job labels and ticking role description boxes, as it adapts itself to each new challenge in favour of localised decision-making and accelerated results.

Delegating the helicopter understanding

When building digital solutions to overcome business challenges, Architects have always been among the first in touch with the business’ primary stakeholders. They’re the ones to thoroughly understand the challenge to be solved, to find the overall approach when a concept needs to be put into reality, and most of all, to determine how this integrates into what exists today already - as nearly nothing exists in isolation anymore. 

Essential to this bigger picture, Architects bridge understanding and execution by performing the essential reality check with the relevant people. It explains the variety in names for the role, as they need the right discussions with the right tech stakeholders from the very start. Yet all Architects share one common trade: they break down larger problems into smaller ones, in order to localise decision-making for the engineering side of things.

Localised decisions for accelerated results

An Architect identifies the different responsibilities within a larger digital landscape in order to name them, and to assign those responsibilities to systems within the landscape. By doing so, they create the ability for Engineers to take more decisions, and to take them locally. Local to the problem, local to the system, and local to the team. Hence, with more room for fast impact. 

When a challenge’s overarching tech concerns are separated in such a way that teams or individual Engineers can make their own, isolated decisions - knowing that it won't impact what others are working on - Architects do not only create velocity, they also create an admirably pleasant way of working.

Do you recognise the Architect in you? Whatever title or focus given, if creating this type of workflow for clients and colleagues is what gets you out of bed in the morning (or keeps you from it in the evening), come find us.

Stijn Symons

Director Architecture

Stijn Symons

Director Architecture

min read

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