14 years, 7 months ago

Vive la différence…

Tom Graves has summarised the differing roles of architects and designers in his blog What’s the difference between architecture and design?.  It is an ongoing irritation to me that the two are confused.  This not only devalues both disciplines, it has serious and deleterious effect on the quality of solutions delivered.

An architect as Tom states “faces towards strategy, structure and purpose, towards the abstract”, the role is about ensuring we do the right thing.  The designer “faces towards implementation and practice, towards the concrete”, ensuring we do it right.

In 1990, Mitch Kapor delivered his Software Design Manifesto.  He appealed for “design” to get the recognition it deserved as a critical profession in the creation of software solutions.  I thing we have gone part way there.  We have recognized, even if often misunderstood, the discipline of enterprise architecture.  We recognize, but have little formal method, the act of solution architecture.  But we still do not really recognize or train people in design.  In my opinion, we seem to have gone backwards in training people in the logical technology independent fundamentals of good software design.  Rather, we have encouraged technology obsession and limited the careers of good designers and architects.

For those who don’t remember or don’t know, Mitch is one of the fathers of the modern computing era, he was a founder of Lotus Development Corporation and the designer of Lotus 1-2-3, the “killer application” which made the personal computer ubiquitous in the business world in the 1980s.