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Shaping and Communicating Architectural Decisions

Secure buy-in from key stakeholders, resolve conflict, and build consensus across teams

Seth Dobbs

Many believe that communication is a “soft” skill that is unnecessary if your architecture or solutions are solid. However, this is not the case. Join Seth Dobbs to learn how to successfully communicate your architectural and technical decisions and develop a better understanding of your key technical and nontechnical stakeholders, including what they can provide and what they need. Seth then shares concrete steps you can take to shape your approach to solving problems and communicate your decisions. You'll leave with the tools you need to build better relationships with both technical and nontechnical team members and stakeholders, make decisions that are clearly aligned with the business, more quickly achieve buy-in, and effectively communicate direction to the technical team.

What you'll learn-and how you can apply it

By the end of this live, online course, you’ll understand:

  • Why good communication skills are critical for architects
  • The motivations and needs behind the different stakeholders you work with
  • How different approaches to communication can create clarity or ambiguity

And you’ll be able to:

  • Lay out a strategy for making good architectural decisions and getting buy-in from key stakeholders
  • Build credibility with other organizations outside of IT and engineering
  • Resolve conflicts with different team members and stakeholders
  • Break speaking habits that create tension and miscommunication

This training course is for you because...

  • You're an architect with experience defining technical approaches who needs to get your team to embrace them and get buy-in from your stakeholders.
  • You're a technical lead with deep hands-on experience who wants to develop leadership skills to grow into an architect role.


  • Basic experience defining architecture, working with teams to support the architecture, and interacting with business and other nontechnical project stakeholders

About your instructor

  • Seth Dobbs is the vice president of engineering at HS2 Solutions, where he directs the development of ecommerce, web, and mobile applications, digital transformations, and other solutions for numerous clients ranging from small startups to companies such as Domino’s Pizza, Zipcar, and HNI. Seth sets the technology direction at HS2 Solutions and drives the technical skill development by organizing and presenting deep dives into new languages, database platforms, and methodologies. He also has developed several internal training courses around architecture and leadership. Seth was recently named Chicago’s best technology manager for 2016 by Tech in Motion.


The timeframes are only estimates and may vary according to how the class is progressing

Overview and the illusion of communication (15 minutes)

  • Lecture: the importance of communication skills for architects, the difference between simply speaking and communicating, signs that you are not actually communicating
  • Hands-on exercise: Determine other illusions you may encounter

Stakeholders (50 minutes)

  • Lecture and group discussion: Understanding our stakeholder ecosystem, primary stakeholders, what they need, and what they provide; other stakeholders; related challenges
  • Q&A

Break (10 minutes)

Selling (10 minutes)

  • Lecture and group discussion: Obtaining buy-in from stakeholders; understanding how a sales mindset guides our communication

The process: Researching and qualifying your solution (35 minutes)

  • Lecture and group discussion: Researching; business problems; qualifying your solution; assumptions and constraints
  • Hands-on Exercise: business problem or technical problem?

Break (10 minutes)

The process: Solving and presenting (35 minutes)

  • Lecture and group discussion: Solving; value-driven solutioning; mapping solution to stakeholder needs; presenting; effective communication techniques

Wrap-up and Q&A (15 minutes)