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  • Nithin Janardhanan

The Art of Collaboration: How IT Architects and Developers Can Coexist

As an IT architect, I’ve been fortunate to work with some amazing platform teams over the years. They have an ability to take an idea and make it better. They have a can-do attitude and the technical expertise to deliver solutions that meet the needs of the business. It’s been an honor to collaborate with them and be a part of something bigger than ourselves.

However, it’s not always easy for architects and developers to coexist. Developers can sometimes feel that architects are less technical and don't understand the nuances of coding. Architects, on the other hand, may feel that developers don't have the bigger picture in mind and tend to focus too much on the details.

In this post, I want to explore the art of collaboration between architects and developers. I’ll share some tips and insights on how to work together more effectively, as well as the role of support engineers and Site Reliability Engineers (SREs) in this process.

Focus on Shared Goals

The first step to successful collaboration between architects and developers is to focus on shared goals. Both parties must be aligned on what they want to achieve and work towards it together. It’s important to recognize that both architects and developers bring unique perspectives and skill sets to the table. By combining these, you can achieve a solution that is greater than the sum of its parts.

Create a Safe Space

Another critical component of collaboration is creating a safe space for communication. Architects should encourage developers to ask questions, share their opinions and concerns without fear of judgment. This creates a culture of trust and transparency, where everyone feels comfortable contributing to the conversation. Developers must feel empowered to challenge the architects if they don't understand something or have a different perspective.

Embrace Agility

IT is constantly changing, and the pace of change is only accelerating. To stay ahead of the curve, architects and developers must embrace agility. They must be willing to pivot and adapt to changing circumstances, requirements, and technologies. This means being open to new ideas, and not getting too attached to any particular way of doing things.

Build Bridges with Support Engineers and SREs

While architects and developers are the driving force behind creating solutions, support engineers and SREs play a critical role in maintaining and optimizing them. They have an intimate understanding of the systems and processes involved and are often the first line of defense when things go wrong. Architects and developers must build bridges with these teams and ensure they are involved in the process from the beginning. This will help prevent any surprises down the road and ensure that solutions are designed with supportability and reliability in mind.

Don't Get Bogged Down in Details

Finally, architects must resist the urge to get too bogged down in the details. While it’s important to have a solid technical foundation, getting too close to the code can cloud the overall vision. Instead, architects should focus on the bigger picture, such as business requirements and long-term strategic goals. Developers should take care of the implementation details and ensure the solution meets the architect's specifications.

Why Developers Might Feel Architects Are Less Technical

Despite the benefits of collaboration, some developers might feel that architects are less technical. This is because architects tend to look at the big picture, while developers focus on the details. Architects are concerned with the overall structure of the system, and they must ensure that it meets the business requirements. Developers, on the other hand, are concerned with the code and making it work.

However, it's important to understand that architects do have a technical background. In fact, many architects have worked as developers before. They have a deep understanding of the technology, and they are well-versed in the latest trends and best practices. They might not be writing code every day, but they know how to design systems that work.

So, if you’re an IT/Solutions architect or a developer, remember that you’re part of a team, and collaboration is key. Keep an open mind, stay engaged, and most importantly, have fun! Together

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