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Are You An Agile Architect?

by Ben Hughes and Mark Levison on Jan 31, 2008 |
Vikas Hazrati recently wrote an article on Agile Journal outlining how the role of the Architect is changing on Agile teams. Vikas writes:
The traditional ivory tower Architects are gradually proving to be the weakest link in the chain for agile projects. The bulk of the traditional Architect's responsibilities are now split amongst the agile team, thus leaving them without a lot of work that they were previously doing. The Agile Architects are emerging in line with Charles Darwin's theory of "survival of the fittest." The role of an Agile Architect on the team is unquestionable and many agile teams vouch for the fact that he is one of the most valuable members of any agile software development team.
Vikas describes the ideal characteristics of the Agile Architect as:
  • Delivers a working solution with optimal quality - sacrifices quality for nothing, enabling constant feedback through provision of a continuous build environment.
  • Maintains conceptual integrity - Ensures the integrity of the solution, protecting it from the pressures and strains of project delivery.
  • Is part of the team - Takes on development tasks, collaborates in team discussions and decisions.
  • Writes system level stress tests - To continuously assert the validity of the architectural decisions and to ensure the solution meets its non functional requirements.
  • Is a mentor to the team - Uses her considerable experience to enable team members to make decisions.
  • Is a deft mediator - Required to enable the inevitable (sometimes heated) discussions to come to a constructive outcome.
  • Never does Big Up Front Modelling - The agile architect allows the model to evolve, through a lightweight, whiteboarding approach, maintaining the model definition in the code.
  • Keeps a look out for large-scale refactorings - to ensure the quality and maintainability of the code.
  • Embraces change - The agile architect ensures through good evolving design that the architecture of the solution can respond to change.
  • Act as glue - to represent the technical concerns of the team in a business light, and express the business concerns with a technical focus.
The author goes on to say:
The interesting part is that an Agile Architect has to juggle these traits as a part of his daily work. If the architect on your team portrays all or most of the following traits, and you see him juggling them, then he is surely a good Agile Architect.
You can read the full article, The Shiny New Agile Architect on Agile Journal .

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