I only trust architects that code. Who have skin in the game. Who will suffer personally if they make the wrong architectural decisions. Who will dive in to fix any problems that arise from their decisions.
Apparently I’m not alone. Grady Booch, a fairly high profile architect, tweeted:
(yes I code) (I don’t trust architects who don’t…)
@Grady_Booch, 18 July 2013
I like Architects who are willing to get dirty
I only trust architects who are willing and able to get dirty. These folk understand the current technologies because they have used those technologies on real projects. Because of this experience they understand the challenges faced by the development teams working under them.
But most important for me these guys have skin in the game, where the game is delivering software. If they make a poor architectural decision then they will suffer personally because they are the ones who will have to dive in to fix any problems that arise.
Hands off Architects make other folk suffer
I don’t trust architects who are no longer hands on. Conversations with hands off architects seem a bit abstract for my tastes. These people have learnt by reading or listening to sales representatives. They seem to be motivated more by trends in the technology press, by what is cool or convention, rather than by practicalities.
And in contrast to their code-inclined peers, hands off architects don’t have any skin in the game. They make decisions and then other folk have to suffer to implement those decisions.
Speaking personally, I still code myself. Budget for 10 – 15% a week at least is my policy. Sometimes not possible though. I wouldn’t apply any title that implies Ivory Tower thinking. Eric Evans calls them this. Ivory Tower Architects.
Couldn’t agree more with all this. I’ve been quite worried recently that I wasn’t getting enough dev exposure so I took action and now have got a “dev backlog” first of all it’s fun 🙂 but also that should help me make better decisions on the solution designs.
Ah! btw just planning dev work has worked really nicely as a personal motivation boost!