Having inadvertently canvassed hundreds if not thousands of architects over the years about working patterns and the nature of work a couple of common themes tend to come up:
- There is a limited time in the working day for an architect to do any productive work. Between the hours of 9-5 (more like 8-6 these days) the life of an architect generally involves attending/leading back to back to back meetings. A decent proportion of work is undertaken outside of those hours where you have time away from the office to gather your thoughts to really understand the business problem at hand.
- What is deemed to be productive work is often not understood by business stakeholders. The frustration I hear frequently is that business stakeholders will assume that an architect will have the answers for multi-layered problems in a short space of time. I would put this down to the majority of stakeholders not understanding the process that architects go through to get to a certain solution.
The old adage that there is more than one way to skin a cat, I think fits very well within the architecture domain. As architecture is primarily conceptual in its nature, it could be argued that there is no right or wrong answer to a problem, and multiple solutions to an answer need to be considered. Yes, there are industry standards and common templates (depending on the maturity of the org) that can be followed but to have the time to sit and think about a particular solution shouldn’t be understated.
This becomes more important I believe, the more strategic the problem becomes, as your focus is less about a technology solution to a defined problem, and more about understanding business problems that aren’t necessarily understood or defined.
One global trend that is starting to become more common practice is the ability to work from home. In my world the ability to work from home simply allows me the flexibility to wake up a bit later, or do jobs that I was meant to do on the weekend. Whether I’m in the office or not does little to affect my personal productivity. If anything, I’m more likely to be more productive in the office as I don’t have the TV on in the background watching another batting collapse by the Black Caps. However, for an architect I believe it gives the ability to get away from the constant meetings and questions, and really spend time thinking about the problem at hand.
As an Architect, you don’t get paid good money because you come up with the best PowerPoint presentations or are the best public speakers, no, you get paid well because you come up with innovative solutions that can really help drive your clients to the outcomes that will best benefit them in the future.
Do you think that as an architect you have enough time to really understand and think about the business problems, or do you find yourself having to rush to solutions to keep business stakeholders appeased?