The 5 Most Important Stakeholders In An Architect's Day At Work

Introduction

 
A Software Architect drives the technology and technical best practices in an engineering team. The architect role is pivotal for any organization because this is where product management, project management, and technology come hand in hand and speak a common language.
 
For an architect, identifying and managing important stakeholders is crucial; not only for him or her to succeed in the role but also for the overall success of the product and eventually the organization.
 

Stakeholders of a Software Architect 

 
Any job role requires thorough identification, classification, and management of its stakeholders. This is not an exception in any technical role as well, especially for a technical leadership role such as a Software Architect.
 
It should start from the identification of the stakeholders and then stratifying them against a matrix of "Interest" and "Power" of corresponding stakeholders.
 
5 Most Important Stakeholders In An Architect's Day At Work
 
Each of the quadrants requires specific stakeholder management techniques. Also, from my personal experience, this classification changes based on the situation as well.
 
However, in general, in this blog, I share my learning and experience on the 5 most important stakeholders that a software architect must engage with and manage efficiently.
 
5 Most Important Stakeholders In An Architect's Day At Work
 
Developer 
 
Developers are architect's comrades-in-arms. If the architecture and the design don't resonate with the developers while they implement the solution or if the developers are not well equipped with the coding and designing guidelines and best practices, the product is bound to face inevitable failure.
 
Along with active participation in the design and code reviews, architects need to engage with developers in imparting and establishing clean coding and designing best practices and guidelines. An architect should also play a crucial role in motivating and mentoring the developers for the bigger interest of the team, product and organizational goal.
 
Product Manager 
 
Any architectural and design decision should always be driven by the requirement. For an architect, the product manager is the person with whom s/he grooms the product road-map, customer needs and define and refine the technical blueprint from that. Architect's involvement with a product manager is important in aligning the architecture and high-level design of the product towards the customer needs.
 
Continuous collaboration also happens the other way around. The product manager also looks for feedback from the technical feasibility and design perspective while formulating the market requirements.
 
Program/Project Manager 
 
The program/project manager needs to know the timeline, budget, and risk associated with an architectural or design solution of a problem.
 
Architecture is all about trade-offs and more often than not, these trade-offs also depend on the project management constraints of time-cost-budget-quality. Hence, it is of utmost importance that architects do "manage" the program/project managers well and keep them aligned with the whereabouts of the product architecture and design.
 
DevOps Engineer 
 
DevOps Engineers are responsible for the release and deployment of the product. They also take care of the network and deployment of infrastructure requirements, testing, and development. Software Architects are equally responsible for defining the release, packaging, and deployment strategies best suited for the product. CI/CD pipeline strategies, update/upgrade strategies, etc. are usually defined by the software architect and executed along with collaboration with the DevOps Engineers.
 
Alongside the DevOps engineers, architects play the important role in rolling out the SDLC best practices, integration of internal quality matrices (static code analysis, etc.), choosing the right automation framework and tools for developing and maintaining automated CI/CD pipelines.
 
Customer
 
The customer is king! Well, if not always, it is still a prevailing philosophy for software engineering. Even though the Product Management team helps in interfacing with the market requirement analysis, it is always a value-added facet for an architect to have a direct liaison with the customer.
 
Architects often use this direct collaboration to read between the lines of customer requirements to derive and device technical blueprints not only from the functional aspect but also from the non-functional perspective of the product.
 

Summary

 
By an implicit role expectation, architects perform a wide variety of work - from technical architecture, design, development, and review to interfacing with product and project management in providing and deriving crucial inputs for the overall success of the product.
 
5 Most Important Stakeholders In An Architect's Day At Work
 
In this article, I have discussed 5 most important stakeholders - not in any particular order. However, as I mentioned earlier, based on the dynamic nature of this role, the perceived importance of the stakeholders would change, and often other stakeholders do take higher priority to be engaged and managed by an architect based on a given situation.
 
Editor's Notes
 
Software Architect role is the most sought after roles in the software industry. Not only software architects are in high demand, they are the builders of software and innovation. C# Corner had a full day Software Architect's conference. Here is the full conference.