Evolution of an Architect in the IBM Cloud Garage

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From “old IBM” to “new IBM”

I joined the IBM Cloud Garage as an architect almost four years ago to learn and work on cloud-based solutions for IBM clients. The culture and work environment of the Garage were worlds apart from the IBM I was used to.

Traditional IBM services teams focused on large enterprise solutions that often required months just documenting technical architecture and design. The Garage was agile and centered around design thinking and minimum viable product (MVP) development. The Garage method used eXtreme Programming (XP) at its core, which applies an evolutionary design approach. Application architecture and system design weren’t deemed necessary as developers worked on MVPs that didn’t require much upfront technical design. Architecture was just a matter of selecting the right set of services from the IBM Cloud Catalog that an application could consume.

What was my role in all of this? I was used to making technical decisions for solutions I worked on, from the mundane functional ones to the most critical non-functional decisions. In the Garage, most of these decisions were made by developers implementing the MVPs, while my role was to facilitate technical workshops with clients.

After having spent 25 years in the IT industry, would I be able to adjust to a new way of working?

Adjusting, adapting, and embracing change

I had to embrace the Garage culture to evolve as an architect. This required me to take a very hands-on approach in partnering with Garage designers and developers as well as assuming the role of a coach. Working on a good mix of innovation-focused MVP and enterprise-scale digital transformation projects has given me the opportunity to reinvent myself as a “polyglot architect.” I can now speak the language of developers half my age as well as bridge the gap with traditional IT. Empowering developers to make day-to-day technical design decisions with the right level of consultation results in a harmonious team delivering the best outcomes for IBM clients. Architecture and system design are also becoming more ingrained in the method as the Garage marks its fifth birthday.

Over the five years, the Garage has retained its roots in innovation and delivering value quickly to IBM clients while successfully expanding its scope to complex enterprise transformation.

Through it all, for me, the best part of the Garage remains its culture and opportunity to work with extremely talented colleagues on a daily basis.

This blog is a part of a series celebrating the 5th anniversary of the IBM Cloud Garage. 

To learn more about the IBM Cloud Garage, find our story, resources, and method here. If you would like to see how the IBM Cloud Garage can help your business, schedule a cost-free, four-hour virtual visit with us. We’d love to help you turn that idea into a reality.

Executive Architect, Cloud Garage Services

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