Architectural Thoughts on Definitions of Architecture

I’ve joked for some time that I’m waiting for the first leader of a business to class themselves as Emperor. It seems to me that business leader job titles have evolved from Director to Managing Director through to Chairman and on to President and more recently to Chief Executive Officer. leaving those behind them pick up the names that they have previously cast off.

Definitions are part of the world that I inhabit. Sometimes I’m required to spend more time on agreeing the definition of something.

Jimmy and Granddad visit ButtermereFor years now people have tried, and largely failed, to be clear about the definition of the role of ‘architect’ within the general IT arena.

My view has mostly been that in this arena definitions are pointless because they rarely have any influence on the capabilities of the people that I am working with. Solution Architect, IT Architects, Enterprise Architect, Data Architect, Information Architect, Technical Architect all seemed to result in a very similar set of capabilities in the people employed.

I’m starting to change my mind though, but not because I think that the terms themselves have any value. My change of mind is being driven by a different reason – because other people care.

It doesn’t really matter to me what ‘type’ of architect people define me as long as I get to do interesting work. The problem is that others perceive what comes with the definition. they expect a XYZ Architect to do something different to an ABC Architect.

People’s understanding of what each of these definitions actually means covers a very broad spectrum and people fight bitterly for the ‘higher-ground’ definitions.

This shouldn’t really surprise me because as I said at the beginning I live in a world were definitions are important to people.

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