4 years, 11 months ago

Why an architect should NOT be a team player

Link: http://www.etc-architect.com/?p=306

When I am arguing for an architect not being a team player I am not proposing him to be a sociopath, as that is what most people associate with not being a team player. Instead I will look at the most common traits of a team player and demonstrate how they inhibit an architect of performing well, regardless what HR will tell you.

A team player demonstrates reliability and follows through on all assignments, not getting distracted. An architect on the other hand is required to change the way he is moving if he finds ways to improve the given way or when he discover ways that processes will hurt the organisation. A team player communicates in a positive and respectful manner. The architect ideally will be able to do this in a perfect world, but in that perfect world he is actually not needed. The architect therefore is required to often communicate rather forceful from the devils viewpoint to counteract the business as usual attitude. Team players are active participants. They come prepared for team meetings and listen and speak up in discussions. They’re fully engaged in the work of the team and do not sit passively on the side-lines. An architect often needs to sit on the side-line and only engage if the team is moving in the wrong direction, actually architects that have gone native usually cannot perform governance.

Good team players, despite differences they may have with other team members concerning style and perspective, figure out ways to work together to solve problems and get work done. They respond to requests for assistance and take the initiative to offer help. An architect on the side always needs to be open to the idea that there is no good solution or even that the requirements are wrong (see wicked problems as an example). Architects focused too much on solutions are often why we got so many suboptimal solutions. Often using no architects in those cases would have been better. A team player doesn’t hold rigidly to a point of view and argue it to death, especially when the team needs to move forward to make a decision or get something done. An architect often needs to be rigid about a certain point to balance the delivery only focus.

Of course there are also some points of a team player that are good for an architect, such as treating others respectful and supportive or being a good listener, but architects should not aim a being good team players in general.

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