Obviously, I'm spending a little time in 'the lounge' this afternoon. [Great feed reader by the way - well worth the nominal $5/month fee.]
As most know, one of my soapbox topics for enterprise architects is:
The business-driven enterprise architect's responsibilities go well beyond the whiteboard. They need to deliver the architecture (tools, practices, services, and infrastructure), and roll it out to project teams.
Over the lifecycle of an architecture initiative, an enterprise architect might play a variety of roles, including strategist, evangelist, architect, project leader, developer, mentor, and enforcer.
Given that, I was glad to see a couple of recent posts highlighting the importance of architects working on the ground, guiding architecture and project realization.
I read Mummified Architects on the CTO blog. In a humorous manner, Ron Tolido reminds architects of a serious risk. Technical stagnation will atrophy an architect's influence:
An architect should be an inspiring leader and mentor who visits the building place regularly and fully takes account for the designs that have been brought in. An architect should not be the mummified illustration of Peters Principle, only touching the very first part of the life cycle of a project and then quickly vanishing into history again.
This is why architects should update their technology skills over and over again, bringing them selves in sync with whatever is buzzing in real projects, in communities of practices, in universities and in the labs of technology providers.
Sounds like a busy schedule? Well, that’s what you get when you want to be an IT architect in the first place. Serves you right.
For Ron's "Signs that prove you need an IT update" see his post.
Arguably the group of architects that is worst at spoiling the market for serious architects, is the group that advocates the usage of Oriental Wisdom metaphors, such as Tao, yin yang and feng shui. Probably driven by the conviction to be working on something extremely important, enlightening and difficult, oriental philosophies are used to explain balance, antagonisms (business and IT?) and controlled change.
...Even though it is hard to measure the direct value of architecture, there should be a way to measure the effectiveness of architects, to separate the chaff from the corn. Start by not trusting architects that come up with pictures of yin and yang in their presentations, or who start to talk about the emotional value of architecture. Stop these architects! Challenge them, ask questions, and do not accept anecdotes about Chinese fairy tales to explain the value of their architecture or their architecture process...
Lastly, James asks for "a litmus test on how to detect when you meet a real one vs. a faker"
Sounds like Enterprise Architect Anti-Patterns might be a good answer. Yes, Steve Jones' SOA Anti-Patterns was on my reading list today.