The Art of Drawing Lines

We all recognise that part of the role of a technology architect is to draw lines and boxes. Whilst simple in nature, architecture diagrams are extremely powerful tools that help to structure complex problems, communicate ideas and solutions, establish a common language across disparate parties, and countless other uses. Enterprise Architecture & Solution Architecture has matured over past few decades to become pretty sophisticated and architects have also grown to leverage the advanced frameworks and tools we have today.

However, over the years, another set of lines are being drawn behind the scenes. Whilst also powerful, they are potentially dangerous and create barriers to effective progress.  Examples of this may include the lines of segregation between architecture and other aspects such as project management (e.g. timelines, cost, resources), business analysis (e.g. requirements gathering), and change management. In the pursuit of architectural alignment and goals, we sometimes unwittingly segregate ourselves from reality.

Having been through 15 years of Systems Implementation delivery, PMO & Project Management, I’ve come to realise that the real art of drawing lines are about the ones left undrawn. As architects, I strongly believe that our ability to take on different perspectives across project managers, business analysts, developers, testers, business stakeholders and others is imperative for developing practical solutions.

The role of the architect enables us to freely engage with almost any stakeholder from the most junior to the most senior in the organisation. What type of lines are you drawing?