In the last 4 years of IT architecture,  I’ve seen a movement to promote modeling and taxonomy discipline into the profession.    This has promoted consistency where more and more IT architects can model systems with less confusion with peers and stakeholders.   This has been a good thing.

However,  it’s been saddening to see upcoming architects academically focus so much on modeling and language taxonomy that they loose sight of the primary reasons IT architects exist:  to take command, to lead, make crucial decisions and be accountable for people, time and money investment for their organization’s objectives.

I’ve seen many IT architects transform from Leader and Commander to a mere artistic modeling advisor.    

Models, Methodologies and Processes are tools for the architect to leverage in the engagement.   

Lets take an analogy of the pilot who goes through very disciplined training to fly an airplane.   With all the checklists, gauges and practiced procedures,   The pilot must keep his or her perspective of the primary goal:  fly the plane safely and effectively to the destination.    the pilot doesn’t worship the gauges (and are often trained to anticipate and react when gauges fail). 

I see IT architects worshiping the gauges.   I heard an Enterprise Architect say “i work to have methodology discipline.  if it doesn’t fit into my methodologies, then it’s not important to me.”   Then when I asked the architect how he does architecture,  his reply  “I use my methodologies to creatively model systems and management makes the decisions.”    

I remember a time when we made the decisions, lead the teams, aligned the organization and were accountable for the solution.  We were the commanders.   When there was a conflict in a large team that could not be resolved,  I made the final architectural decision. 

For those who have never been in command of an enterprise engagement,  for me:  its an exciting, scary, sometimes lonely and highly personally rewarding place that you always remember and it will give you an amazing sense of pride and sense of purpose.   

Honestly, while talking about architecture can be fun,  commanding an enterprise initiative as the architectural leader can give the best sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. 

Unfortunately,  I’ve seen many up and coming architects who have never been in command.   Too many have have risen to their status with only an ability to have mastery with specific methodologies, processes and taxonomies.     We used to call these people “Academic Architects”  (instead of Practicing Architects)

I’ve seen interviews having no technical, business, leadership or even experience questions (much less exploring tough architectural decisions made in the past) : many are only focusing on methodology and taxonomy questions for their architectural hires.

I can teach an architect a different methodology or taxonomy,   it’s much harder to teach an architect to be able to be in command, make good decisions, and be accountable.

When we formed architectural certification over 5 years ago,  we specifically sought to keep out academic architects.    Now, as more “practicing” architects become more academic as artistic modeling advisors instead of being in command, the profession starts to lose that leadership credibility it once had. 

In short,  Modeling methodology and taxonomy discipline has helped IT architects increase consistency.  However, if real leadership and decision capability are ignored, then we will be generating a generation of consistent academics who have no idea how to really take command.

I believe as a profession,  we can do better.