Architect or Developer

I will start by saying the opinions in this are my own. So often you find that a consulting company will hire developers, and good developers at that and try to sell them to their clients as architects. There is a big difference between a developer and an architect and a misrepresentation such as this can be a project and relationship killer. A good developer can make or break a project, it is rare now days that a project will get implemented without some form of code being included. When you solution and implement you can only make assumptions on the skills of the resources you might get from the pool. Get a development wiz and potentially over deliver or come under budget. Get a development dud and struggle to deliver some of the most simple pieces of code.

But a good developer does not an architect make. I have worked with developers from all over the world but very few are architects. An architect constructs a solution functionality and/or technically in the best way possible for the client. Understanding that sometimes there are constraints that are faced with architecture and we look to work within these constraints. But an architect will make sure that the pieces of the solution puzzle fit together in a way that can scale and evolve with the business. An architect will look past the solution to the experience of not only the client, but for the clients customers. Again there are good and bad architects but it is not only the skill set but the mindset that I think is different as well as key. It can be as simple as trying to map a process to a solution, for example mapping a sales process to a CRM, noticing that the product configuration is complex and choosing the develop a new solution as opposed looking at a fit for purpose plugin for the solution. The architects mind will process as “how can I build a solution that will scale and is easy to maintain for the customer”, where the developer will be thinking “nothing exists for this solution, I will custom build”. Changing a developers mindset is not a simple as it sounds and takes more than just a conversation. They need to be coached and experience multiple projects thinking as an architect before they can shed their developer skin. Don’t get me wrong we need developers, but if you want to sell an architect then make sure you have one on staff.