This week here is sending you some thoughts on whether an architect needs to be a specialist or a generalist as one progress along the career path.
Specialists increase the depth of small ideas. Generalists connect small ideas into bigger ideas. We need them both to advance as a species. – Kenneth @leadershipABC
We need to know that an architect is support to have a lot of skills under his belt . An with the onslaught of technology changes every passing day. It is like changing the tires when the vehicle itself is going through an overall. An architect is supposed to be good at one or more skills and tech stacks . He needs to have full stack experience and should have handled at two end to end project in his lifetime meaning he saw the product or the solution go from concept to cash . This means that he was involved in every aspect of the delivery from start to finish and involved in all areas of the design , development and test and finally solutioning. All of this is still ok but what about the changing nature of the tech landscape and how does one keep pace with changing parts of the puzzle. The ancient greek definition of Architect meant that he was a man of words , arts , literature , interested in music and a tinkerer of sorts. All that we can think of someone who would fit that profile would a Da Vinci. Given the work pressures we all know how difficult it is to be someone of that level. It takes effort and years of practice to reach or play at that level.
But what is expected of an architect as he progress in his career path is that he should have broad experience in many areas of work and deep dive experience in one or two of them . This does not need us to be Da Vinci and looks like an within reach target. What are the skills that you felt inadequate to turn into a Senior IT professional ?
Here is an interesting news article about how Airbnb solved their problem by redefining their scope.They were stuck as they were looking at how to scale things first before solving other issues. You never know where your potential solution can come from unless you have looked at the problem from all its dimensions.
Thinking outside of the box is a key skill for an architect . It involves being exposed to new ways to think about existing issues. Most often people are so neck deep into finding solutions to problems that they forget to explore other options of how to make things better for people , customers. Most often the architects are disconnected from end user realities and design solutions considering only the technical landscape. This creates a one pointed view of looking at and arriving solutions. Most often the best solutions to customer facing solutions come from the coffee boy , the security guard or the customer who is using the system on a day in day out basis. Have we cared to check what are all the possible solutions which can enhance customer experience before going ahead with the solutions that are merely technology oriented and miss the business outcome or even the end user experience. Design thinking is a skill for an architect or a solution designer and is a skill that has many people looking forward to which is about getting a problem all out captured in all its dimensions and looking also for problems from all quarters. It does not designate anyone with a Chief of Innovation mantle to innovate on the problem , everyone is a potential out of box thinker. Every input when processed through the design funnel could solve a teething problem with a solution that everyone in WOW !!.
Here is leaving you with a design thinking approach to solve a product rollout issue using principles of design thinking