The Architect as Salesperson
By Bob Rhubart-Oracle on Jan 27, 2014
In an interview with InfoQ's Amr Elssamadisy, education consultant and Culture Engine founder Steve Peha offers this comment about the failure of a large software development project he headed:
We were so focused on tools and practice and process and methods, that we forgot about the people, we forgot about the culture.
Peha goes on to explain that the project's stakeholders were quick to assume that nothing could be done to overcome the cultural issues that threatened the project's success. Those attitudes were the catalyst that drove Peha to shift his professional focus from software development to organizational culture and the multiple agreements between project stakeholders that are the foundation of the success of any project, software or otherwise.
And in that there's an obvious lesson for software architects. The success of software architecture at any level relies on cooperation and collaboration across a broad spectrum of stakeholders. The architect's ability to nurture agreement between stakeholders is essential. Like it or not that means that effective architects share characteristics one finds in successful salespeople.
Does that comparison make you feel just a bit uncomfortable? That's something you'll have to confront. A wealth of technical skill will only get you so far as an architect if you lack the powers of communication and persuasion necessary to get stakeholders to see things from the proper perspective and work together toward shared goals.
You'll find the complete InfoQ interview with Steve Peha here: Steve Peha on Agreements-Based Culture.