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97 Things Every Software Architect Should Know by Richard Monson-Haefel

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Chapter 19. Architects Must Be Hands On

John Davies is currently chief architect at Revolution Money in the U.S. He recently started a new company called Incept5.

John Davies
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A GOOD ARCHITECT SHOULD LEAD BY EXAMPLE. He (or she) should be able to fulfill any of the positions within his team, from wiring the network and configuring the build process to writing the unit tests and running benchmarks. Without a good understanding of the full range of technology, an architect is little more than a project manager. It is perfectly acceptable for team members to have more in-depth knowledge in their specific areas but it’s difficult to imagine how team members can have confidence in their architect if the architect doesn’t understand the technology. As has been said elsewhere, the architect is the interface between the business and the technology team, and thus must understand every aspect of the technology to be able to represent the team to the business without having to constantly refer others. Similarly the architect must understand the business in order to drive the team toward its goal of serving the business.

An architect is like an airline pilot: he might not look busy all of the time, but he uses decades of experience to constantly monitor the situation, taking immediate action if he sees or hears something out of the ordinary. The project manager (co-pilot) performs the day-to-day ...

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