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In The Process of Software Architecting I discussed the architect as a technical leader. Here's what was written:
"In terms of position in the organization, the architect (or “lead” architect, if the architect role is fulfilled by a team) is the technical lead on the project and should have the authority to make technical decisions. The project manager, on the other hand, is more concerned with managing the project plan in terms of resources, schedule and cost. Using the film industry as an analogy, the project manager is the producer (making sure things get done), whereas the architect is the director (making sure things get done correctly). As a result of their positions, the architect and project manager represent the public persona of the project and, as a team, are the main contact points as far as people outside the project are concerned. The architect, in particular, should be an advocate of the investment made in creating an architecture and the value it brings to the organization. The architect should also be involved in determining how the team is populated since the architecture will imply the need for certain skills. Dependencies between elements of the architecture translate to the sequencing of tasks and therefore when these skills are required. The architect should therefore actively contribute to planning activities. On a related note, since the success of the architect is closely linked to the quality of the team, participation in interviewing new team members is also highly appropriate. In terms of the qualities that the architect exhibits, leadership can also be characterized in terms of interactions with other team members. Specifically, the architect should lead by example and show confidence in setting direction. Successful architects are people-oriented and every architect takes time to mentor and train members of their team. This benefits the team member in question, the project, and ultimately the organization itself since one of their most valuable assets (their people) becomes better skilled. Also, the architect needs to be very focused on the delivery of tangible results, and must act as the driving force for the project from a technical perspective. They must be able to make decisions (often under pressure), and make sure that those decisions are communicated, understood and, ultimately, stick."
This past week has led me to think about the architect as a leader more deeply - partly inspired by the group of leaders I spent a day with as IBM presented its annual Outstanding Technical Achievement Awards to the recipients. I even reached for a favourite book on the subject - The Naked Leader by David Taylor (and I wasn't quite sure what Google Images would throw up when searching based on the book title!). I decided to make a list of leadership qualities that, in total, represent how a leader (in this case, an architect) might be perceived by others and came away with something I look for in others, and myself. A rewarding exercise. Here's the list, where good leaders are perceived as: