Good Architect

Good architects ...

Can you change your architecture?

If they are defensive about their models, spend a lot of time explaing how smart they are, and how their models are correct - they are a BadArchitect. A GoodArchitect smiles, and asks how would can we improve this?

-- PaulCaswell


See FrankLloydWright. If you read the lists under this page and BadArchitect and honestly apply them to Frank you would have to call him a BadArchitect. But his architecture has been applauded world wide. This begs the question; "Which type of Architect produces the best architecture?" in either software or buildings. History of both fields suggests that BadArchitect s are in the lead. Why? -- ThirdWaveDave


Hmmmm... Most of these attributes can be said about a good anything. Which of these do you think are really essential to being a good architect? While I think it is essential that an architect be a generalist rather than a specialist, I strongly disagree that a GoodArchitect is necessarily a leader, much less a FearlessLeader. While this is good, most great architects I know of are humble, un-assuming, and have a very difficult time communicating. Look at the differences between Jobs and Woz? Jobs was a communicator and leader while Woz was an architect who didn't much care about being a leader or leading. Unfortunately, most people end up thinking Jobs was an architect just because of his ability to communicate and lead. This may not be a great example, I but think it gets my point across.

Of course, it's always great when you find an architect that can also preach and fire people up. However, these are usually pundits that are just posing as architects. -- RobertDiFalco


I think we should change the word 'leader' if is communicating they are anything but humble and un-assuming. I have been 'led' through building systems and my career by these kinds of kind people - I call them leaders. Maybe teachers, mentors, guides are a better words, but tragically these words are not respected in the current workplace.

I am not saying that architects who call themselves FearlessLeaders are GoodArchitects.

But: Maybe all GoodArchitects are FearlessLeaders? (they may not admit it!)

-- PaulCaswell


Postscript (in the non Adobe sense)

[Warning - this section includes some highly speculative WikiOnWiki and other non software material which may turn out to highly flammable. It probably belongs somewhere else on Wiki. The reason it isn't in the right place yet is partly out of uncertainty that there is a right place.]

This page name came to mind a few days ago but like so many others, I didn't put it up right away. Then I noticed someone else had anyhow. Although I guess this is an obvious WikiName, given the discussions of the last couple of weeks, the idea of the GoodArchitect/BadArchitect antithesis still seems worth a try, if we can avoid over-general banality. (That of course is why I haven't joined the discussion proper, to give these pages a decent chance to avoid over-general banality.)

What interests me is that Wiki often used to have this "I was about to do that or say something very like that, isn't that funny" property. Then it didn't have it anymore (speaking personally of course). Now, just perhaps, it has it again. Please don't let anyone cite WikiMind, GlobalBrain and related concepts. Wasn't it partly those heavy handed pages that made this rather remarkable effect go away in the first place? Perhaps quantum non-locality of this kind needs not to be spelt out and analysed too much. Try to remove the uncertainty, the sense of wonder and you end up knowing less than when you started.

As it came to mind earlier in the week the phrase "GoodArchitect" was immediately associated for me with Thomas Keneally's introduction to the wonderful SchindlersArk. He talks about the challenge of writing a book about a "GoodGerman?", a figure he suggests about as believable and attractive as a "golden hearted whore". Oscar Schindler, hero and "sign of contradiction". If the architects and indeed much-appreciated Germans among us can forgive me (however physical or not they may be) I still can't avoid these associations in my own mind. I humbly bring them to the attention of the Wiki community, in case they spark off some helpful thoughts for others, or at least some good-tempered jokes.

-- RichardDrake


I'm new to wiki, eager to share my ideas and excited to learn. I think I am trying to capture Principles and Values of a GoodArchitect more than practices and techniques that are covered on other pages. Let me know if I should change anything - I embrace change. --PaulCaswell

As I hope I make clear above, I think it's a good page idea, Paul, together with BadArchitect. A good way forward from what can easily become a sterile "we don't like calling anyone architect" vs "we disagree cos that's what we're called" stand off. I don't have much time at present to "improve things" (even if I could!). I would love to see more and more grounding of our ideas in real world experience on Wiki as a whole but that is difficult to achieve, as I say in DisagreeWithTheseGeneralisms. (I include the real world experience of building architects if any of them are crazy enough to venture onto Wiki, like my good friend MartinNoutch.) But it's been great to see "new blood" picking up some of the old Wiki themes in a fresh way recently and I certainly include your and Robert's interaction above in that.

Probably the key question is whether this page and BadArchitect can become largely DocumentMode, summarising consensus of the subject without signatures. Maybe it's worth you and Robert seeing if you can achieve that (many have tried and failed but the effort is normally enlightening). But as ThreadMode it still has value, especially the interesting example of Jobs and Wozniak (that's as close as one can hope to get to grounding in the "real world" in this case perhaps). -- rd

I have started a page on the engineer type: SmartGeneralist. Perhaps an index is needed at EngineerTypes??


Maybe a GoodArchitect need not be a FearlessLeader, but he certainly needs to be fearless. Everybody has an opinion on how an architecture should evolve and expand, and not all of them are right. A good architect has to be able to say no time and time again, but also has to be able to produce whatever is required to keep those people happy. -- JohnFarrell


Is 'Fearless' the same thing as 'Courageous'?

Fearless sounds great and seems to go with being a Leader but I must say a lot of my own experience as a GoodArchitect InvestigatingConcreteThings is closer to these words of St. Paul: Conflicts on the outside, fears within ! I suspect a lot of 'leaders' have tremendous fears but overcome them through courage... -- MartinNoutch


See FrankLloydWright. If you read the lists under this page and BadArchitect and honestly apply them to Frank you would have to call him a BadArchitect. But his architecture has been applauded world wide.

So who's an example of a GoodArchitect? I.M. Pei, perhaps? (How do you Wikify that? ImPei?? IiMmPei??) -- MikeSmith


I've looked for examples of GoodArchitect using the criteria of who created structure that help us as we are taking our journey. The best method I have found for doing this is through Patterns. I use the term GoodArchitect, similar to how I use GoodThing, I use the term to express a gut feeling more than a universal truth. With that in mind, I can list some examples (the list would be different last week or next week). I happened to watch a documentary by Ken Burns on MarkTwain last night, so they are on the list.

I'm a little short on Building or Software architects! -- PaulCaswell


I've changed architecting a novel to architecture of a novel I guess I should AvoidNeologisms. I like the dynamic concept (see CanAnArchitectureEmerge) but I'm stuck for a word: creating, revealing, discovering? I don't know, the conscious process of being an architect. -- PC

architecting a novel...architecting a documentary...Ouch! -- MN


"Are you a GoodArchitect or a BadArchitect?" --MichaelFeathers, in RefactorLowHangingFruit


See also BadArchitect

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