Dragon1 Architects

Architects, in short, are the designers of complex structures, like systems, that continuously change. They are also the supervisors of the realization of these systems.

Preferably they are even the program manager or project manager of this transformation program.

There are many different types of architects in organizations, but they all have in common that they (should) design systems: Enterprise architects design enterprise systems, IT architects design IT systems, Solution Architects design integral solutions, and so on.

One of the great challenges for architects is to satisfy all the highly demanding primary stakeholders with their (conflicting) requirements. That requires from architects that they are able to do conceptual design.

The conceptual level of the complex system they design is the architecture (i.e. total concept) of the system.

How Does the Architect Work?

How, in short, does the architect work, together with other roles?

The Dragon1 open EA Method provides an answer to this question: the architect acts as a creative designer of total concepts and enterprise-wide solutions and supervises the realization of the designed solutions.

The diagram below provides core steps and roles that play an important part in the work of an architect.

Dragon1 How Does The Architect Work

Important to notice is that an architect, other than designers, makes use of concepts and principles to create designs at four levels of abstraction: conceptual, preliminary, definite and detailed architecture design.

Skills Required for Being a Designer

Designers need to have certain skills to be any good in design.

Five skills often recognized are:

  • Communication. Designers are constantly interacting with stakeholders for requirements and approval of design fragments.
  • Creativity. Designers solve problems and come up with solutions no one has done before, so they sometimes have no example.
  • Technology. Designers need to be able to use new technology to solve problems that could have not been solved before.
  • Time Management. Designers always work on different projects at once and have to be able to juggle time.
  • Layout, Typography and Graphics. Layout is the use of type, graphics and space to create a story, voice and engagement. Designers communicate their design with visualizations, diagrams, views and models. Stakeholders must be able in a short period of time to read and understand the graphics and willing to make decisions using them.

Explaining What Architecture Is

Enterprise Architecture to most people is an unknown field of work. This causes that architects also have to spend a lot of time to introduce architecture as field of work or even defending why it is necessary to do.

This is of course not a key activity for architects, but unfortunately they must address it.

Dragon1 promotes the usage of portfolios for this. If you are an architect with experience and have a portfolio, this is the best way to explain to others the role and added value of architecture.

How To Tell If Your Architect Is Any Good?

  1. The architect has a portfolio with great models, drawings and sketches he or she uses to get architecture design assignments/contracts from owner/clients (C-level). This portfolio shows the architect was successful in the past with architecture and projects.
  2. The architect proactively does acquisition for architecture design assignments and contracts.
  3. The architect creates and reviews strategy maps to give feedback on the strategy to C-level. This shows he or she understands and knows the strategy of the enterprise he or she is changing with his designs.
  4. The architect designs and reviews business models, so C-level persons can discuss the changes of it better with others. This shows that the architect understands and knows the business model he or she is changing with his designs.
  5. The architect creates and reviews business cases for all the changes to business models that are caused by the strategy.
  6. The architect moderates and reviews programs of requirements (consulting stakeholders) for the enterprise wide integral solutions (in the business cases) that need to be designed and realized with architecture.
  7. The architect creates and reviews landscapes and blueprints of processes, applications and infrastructure. So impact of the new solutions can be easily controlled.
  8. The architect designs and reviews frameworks, architectures and solutions, concepts, principles, patterns and building blocks.
  9. The architect creates and reviews evolutionary and modular project plans.
  10. The architect creates and reviews roadmaps.
  11. The architect supervises the detailed design and realization of enterprise wide integral solutions.
  12. The architect proactively escalates to the owner/clients when he or she comes across major risks or threads for the projects or enterprise.