15 December 2023
6 Reasons Enterprise Architects and Developers Don’t Get Along
3 minutes read
Written by: Ciara Appelbaum
In the complex world of software development and architecture, the collaboration between enterprise architects and developers is crucial for building and maintaining a thriving IT landscape. However, it is not uncommon for conflicts and misunderstandings to arise between these two essential roles, creating a divide.
In this blog post, we will explore the key reasons behind this strained relationship due to each role’s unique goals and responsibilities. By gaining a deeper understanding of these areas of tension, architects and developers can take proactive steps to cultivate more effective collaboration and achieve greater project success.
In many organizations, the ratio of developers to enterprise architects is typically around 100 to one. This significant disparity in numbers poses challenges for architects to assert direct influence on their agenda, and for developers to get architectural guidance.
Consequently, developers often make architectural decisions prioritizing product features over quality aspects, which can lead to new technical debt piling up if those priorities don’t align with the vision of the enterprise architect. To address this issue, it is crucial to establish clear channels for effective information flow between these roles.
By improving communication and collaboration, developers can better understand and align their decisions with the architectural goals of the organization, reducing the potential for technical debt.
Conflicting Timelines and Deadlines.
Enterprise architecture initiatives often operate on longer timelines, involving extensive planning and analysis. Conversely, developers often work within tight deadlines and agile methodologies that prioritize delivering working software quickly.
This discrepancy can lead to friction, as developers may perceive the enterprise architect’s involvement as slowing down the development process. On the other hand, architects may feel that developers sacrifice long-term quality and scalability for short-term gains.
Having a cross-functional team to better align timelines, set realistic expectations, and find ways to integrate architectural considerations into agile development processes can help mitigate these conflicts. This includes architects being part of the regular development team meetings (i.e. agile sprint planning/meetings).
Resistance to Change.
Enterprise architects are responsible for driving change and innovation within an organization. However, developers may resist architectural changes due to various reasons. Developers who have invested significant time and effort in mastering existing technologies may feel apprehensive about learning new frameworks or adapting to different architectural paradigms.
Additionally, developers might perceive changes introduced by enterprise architects as disruptive, potentially impacting their productivity or necessitating rework. Overcoming resistance to change requires effective change management strategies, transparent communication, and demonstrating the benefits of architectural advancements.
Lack of Developer Involvement in Architecture Design.
When enterprise architects create architectural blueprints without developer input, it can lead to a sense of detachment and frustration among developers. Developers possess valuable insights into the practical aspects of software development, including feasibility, performance considerations, and technology limitations.
By involving developers early in the architectural design process, enterprise architects can leverage their expertise and ensure that the proposed solutions align with the practical realities of implementation. This collaborative approach fosters a sense of ownership and enhances developer buy-in, leading to more successful architecture implementations.
Another effective way to enable better collaboration is the use of Architecture Decision Records – ADRs, for short. Essentially, this is a formal process and step in development where architectural decisions are documented for a shared understanding for all team members. It also encourages and encourages active involvement of developers in the architecture process.
The Ivory Tower Architect.
Developers often struggle to get along with an ivory tower architect. The ivory tower architect is characterized by operating in isolation and detachment from the practical aspects of software development. They make high-level decisions and design choices without actively involving or considering the input of the development team.
This approach creates a divide and a lack of trust between the architect and the developers. Developers may view the ivory tower architect as out of touch with the realities and challenges of implementation, leading to frustration and resistance. Collaboration and inclusivity are crucial for successful architectural decisions, and when developers feel excluded from the process, it hinders overall effectiveness and success.
Insufficient Knowledge Exchange.
To foster collaboration and alignment, enterprise architects and developers shoulfd engage in regular knowledge exchange activities. However, in some cases, this exchange does not occur effectively. Architects may not fully understand the technical challenges faced by developers, leading to unrealistic expectations or architectural decisions that impede development productivity.
Conversely, developers may lack awareness of the broader organizational goals and strategic considerations, resulting in resistance or misunderstanding of architectural initiatives. When an architect is part of the agile development teams meetings, a lot of knowledge sharing and empathy happens. By promoting knowledge sharing sessions, cross-functional training, and fostering a learning culture, organizations can bridge the knowledge gap and enhance collaboration between architects and developers.
Bridging the Gap.
While enterprise architects and developers don’t always get along, improving communication and collaboration will help accelerate strategic IT improvements. By recognizing and addressing any potential tensions that could harm the architect-developer relationship, the chances of enjoying these benefits increase drastically. When architects and developers cooperate smoothly, it’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.
To learn more about how Sigrid helps enterprise architects get a shared understanding with development teams, please visit: softwareimprovementgroup.com/enterprise-architect/
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