What is the role of a Solution Architect in an Agile team? Part 1

Architects can use these skills to take on facilitation roles, oversee design activities and help the development team to ensure various aspects of the system are considered, the solution is communicated and feedback is incorporated. They can also provide governance in certain areas to ensure compliance and best practices. Architects can act as the glue between different organisational departments or teams, stakeholders and development teams. The starting point is generally being the only person on a very small, and sometimes insignificant project.

solution architect responsibilities in agile

Architects communicate the need for these ongoing technical objectives in clear business terms. As a person’s interests and skills develop,
he or she may feel happier concentrating on different parts of a system’s
life-cycle. If an architect has particular skill explaining concepts to business
people, he will naturally focus at the strategic end. You can read some details about the components of architecture development in our article on the product design stage.

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This trust enables individual teams and ARTs to explore and test ideas in an actual production environment independently. All architects, and especially agile ones, must embrace this visionary role,
focusing on how the solution delivers real value to the users, and how the
system’s structure meets the needs of all the stakeholders. The architect will lead choosing the technology, and confirm that the choices
are viable. He or she must therefore be aware of the what does solution architect do alternatives, and factors that
choose between them, and understand what technical issues are key to the
project’s success. Agile software development methods emerged in the 1990s as a reaction to the failure of waterfall which was too slow with too much regulation, planning, micromanagement and documentation. Waterfall, it seemed, moved so slowly that by the time any software was released, the customer needs had moved on – and so had the business environment.

solution architect responsibilities in agile

This vision is shared too with both system integrator Project Leader and client Account Manager. This last flow should be maintained regularly during the project as it might be source of future opportunities and/or quoted mitigations. It also might be helpful to read this when the project becomes “challenging” and positions are getting questioned.

Leadership: building a renewed Europe.

A technical architect defines the technical architecture and the technical requirements for the solution, as well as the technical risks and mitigation strategies. A technical architect also evaluates and selects the appropriate technical solutions and vendors, and ensures that they comply with the technical standards and regulations. A technical architect needs to have a strong knowledge and skills in the technical domain, as well as the ability to research and innovate new technologies and solutions. By the other hand, the editor provides needed resources in order to advice and to confirm the SA’s vision. This allows a bilateral anticipation in case of major impediment on the project. With this process, and thanks to the editor resources along the project progress, editor keeps the position of design authority.

  • Though agile does not recommend documentation explicitly, we use to document as much as possible for easing the life of support teams in the future.
  • Most SAs have that ability to give some of their work to DLs looking to step up.
  • Unlike a technical architect who has nothing to do with managerial and financial aspects, a solutions architect takes them into account providing a liaison link between the enterprise and the technical architecture development.
  • The
    total breadth of architectural knowledge increases so no one person can hold it
    all, and architectural responsibility is typically split, at least between
    hardware, software and data.
  • Architects perform reviews and undertake Quality Assurance periodically whenever required by the team.

It also supports progressive evolution of the architecture by removing bottlenecks for making decisions around architecture. Less bottlenecks mean decisions can be made more frequently by many people – in line with the decentralised decision-making principle. Teams become empowered to take on more risks and be more innovative, because even wrong decisions are in their hands to revert and find alternate solutions to, and they can do it quickly while in control of continuous delivery.

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As a secondary flow of request, the ESA has the correct position in order to ask Editor R&D on complex recommendations or improvements in case a deeper level of expertise is needed. Allowing the developers to be involved in the complete design of a solution or system helps them grow both technically and in terms of responsibility, fosters career growth and motivates them. Often, a tech-lead in a team or a senior developer can take on the role of an architect and lead architecture activities, giving their job more meaning. Yet, whatever industry solutions architects are involved in, the common overarching objective of aligning technical and business aspects of an enterprise’s software conditions their similar roster of responsibilities. Key to this teaching role is helping to resolve technical conflicts among team members and across teams within a tribe. Part of this is having an understanding of where the disagreements have arisen in the past, giving the architect a better sense of where they will arise in the future.

solution architect responsibilities in agile

Documentation is minimal and just-in-time, with nothing being prepared before it is needed and with just enough detail to move forward. Solution architecture does not deliver software but it does produce working designs that act as a blueprint for change and integration. And nothing is stopping them from pairing with developers to code some of the components and modules required for the implementation of the solution. The second aspect to define the position of the Integrator Solution Architect is that she/he must focus on different topics according to the progress of the project. Indeed, holding the vision in mind and sharing it with people, keeping a mentoring aspect on the team, suggesting, and deciding preferred paths are the main competences of ISA. During the pre-sale’s activity, ESA and ISA both define the macro assumptions to be followed by the client and the chosen integrator.

How the Architect’s Role Changes Over Time

Answering this question is always the tricker part as the answer is that it depends on the nature of the project. There are various types of Agile Architects that fit in different parts of the project and cannot be generalised into a specific place in the Scrum Team. Similarly, Architects dealing with the Java or .Net or other specific software development technologies have to be placed in positions in the Scrum Team that deals with the same. Hence, a Scrum Team is best suited when there are members with various skills such as Architectural skills, the Scrum Team can make their own Architectural decisions and decide a best approach for their team.

This set of decisions is wide-ranging because it touches on many different areas of both sides of DevOps. The major question to address here is — why would a team, especially an established team, even want to change the language and tools that they’ve been using for years? For instance, in one team I worked with they had been using Java and Spring for a long time and had picked up poor practices that needed to be abandoned.

Solution Architect

Last but not least, ISA plays a key role in the convergence (migration, interface, change management) and the deployment phase preparation. They are detached from code, so often they don’t see what is or isn’t working and why. Developers have better visibility of how architecture performs and can quickly experiment and adjust all aspects of the architecture until it works.

Agile architecture also provides built-in quality by automating architectural compliance tests. On a single project, the focus will change as the system’s architectural
detail matures. The same person may undertake different roles, changing his or
her focus, or different people may take on different architectural roles. The
latter is typical if there’s a large architectural team, or responsibilities are
split between architectural, development and technology support groups.

Aligning Architecture with Business Value

Enterprise architects are in a consultative role and provide the other specialized architect’s guidance when necessary. One of the ways to demonstrate an interest in the SA role, no matter what role you may currently be filling is to invest time in learning patterns. Because patterns form the basic building blocks of nearly every architecture, learning patterns makes it far easier to identify where they can be helpful. Also, reading books and articles on different architecture perspectives and new development techniques can broaden your point of view and allow you to see opportunities to create your own small sections of the solution.

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