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Developing An Architect Mindset

  • Overview:

    Before you aim to become an architect, it is essential to think, respond and act like an architect. So how do we know how an architect thinks? How do we build a similar mindset? What are the things that an architect does and how to we prepare ourselves?

    This is exactly what I would help you understand.


    Preparing for the architect mindset

    Many believe that becoming an architect does not require technical skills and i would disagree with the notion. Before you start building a structure or a blueprint, you should always know what are the raw materials required and what it takes to build that structure. To begin thinking like an architect, it is essential that you keep away all myths and notions away from your mind t. To be precise, it is true that becoming an architect requires soft skills, but, it also requires technical skills to help you think and respond appropriately. Today, we will be discussing what it takes to build the architect mindset and aim for a career towards being a technical/solution architect.


    Come up with multiple solutions

    When you want to build and architect mindset, the first thing to always keep in mind is to think big picture. Now there is a difference between how a developer thinks and how an architect should think. When given a task to develop something, sometimes developers might not always think of the best way to do it and might want to do the task in the easiest or the least time-consuming way possible.

    In contrast, an architect should think of all the possible ways to solve a particular problem and then analyze which one is the best. Take note here, the best solution for a particular problem might not always be the easiest or the least time-consuming way. It depends on multiple factors.


    How to decide the best solution

    We know that an architect has to come up with multiple solutions whenever possible in any given scenario. But, there are multiple factors that an architect must keep in mind before arriving at a particular solution. These factors include:

    • Business Value
    • Business capability map
    • Efforts required
    • Time and budget required
    • Is it worth the time we invest to build it or is there a better alternative in the market that fulfils our requirements in a portion of the time and money we invest reinventing the wheel?
    • Are there any other better or optimized way to do it? If yes, do we have the proper skill set or do we need to hire someone to implement the solution?


    Communicate the solution

    After finalising the solution, an architect must always communicate the solution to various teams so that they are able to implement the finalised solution. An architect mindset requires not only deciding the solution but also how to communicate the solution to different stakeholders and get it implemented by the development team. Now, this is where the soft skills I mentioned above comes into play.

    You have to be an extremely good and precise communicator and communicate the solutions but, the communication should always be based on the audience. It is very important to understand your audience before you speak and adjust the level of technical details in your communication accordingly.


    Design the solution

    Just after selecting and communicating the solution, an architect must also design the solution and prepare various technical documents like ERD, FSD, TDD, etc. Information required in various documents that an architect might create includes the relational model diagram, the specifications of the various functions that the software or a feature would perform and the technical design, integrations, system landscape, etc. This aids the technical teams to implement the solution selected.


    Guide the development teams to implement the solution

    After the solutions have been decided, communicated, and designed, the next step is to hand them over to the development team and guide them during the journey while they are building the solution.

    Lesson learned

    Now, if you see all the different phases that an architect goes through, you would notice that they essentially do not do the actual programming and development. However, they play an indispensable role in how the solutions are built and how stable the system is. An architect must develop thinking of supporting the system and organization by providing highly efficient and optimized solutions that scale easily and are cost-effective as well.

    Although being an architect doesn't involve only the things mentioned above, it is just enough to start doing such activities yourself and see if you can develop this mindset before you aim for a career in technical or solution architecture.