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12 Essential Skills for Software Architects 1st Edition
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This book is broken into three sections which cover, relationship skills, personal skills, and business skills.
Relationship skills has chapters on leadership, politics, gracious behavior, communication, and negotiation.
Personal skills has chapters on context switching, transparency, and passion.
Business skills has chapters on pragmatism, vision, business knowledge, and innovation.
I think the author does a great job covering the necessary soft skills for an architect. I really like the way the author shows the different skill levels using the technical glass ceiling.
The author's main point with context switching is that you must be able to do it and he provides some great tips on getting good at it. Another perspective that I find important is understanding how much time it wastes no matter how good you get at it. You also need to be aware that your team members may not be good at it. If you don't have a good project manager on the team running interference and limiting context switching, it falls on the architect to run interference. I find it more important to manage context switching than it is to attempt to master it.Read more ›
As the author states in preface of the book
"My goal for this book is to enable you to learn the essential soft skills that you will need to master as a software architect.
This book assumes that you already have the requisite technical skills to become an architect; as such, it does not focus on these types of skills. Instead, this book focuses on 12 essential soft skills that are critical to the daily activities of being an architect. These are the skills that are typically the most challenging for people with technology backgrounds."
He shows us soft skills from the point of architect view. But anyone, who wants to be valuable and trust worthy citizen in the business world, will benefit from this book.
The author divided the book in three parts (relationship skills, personal skills, and business skills) according to skills relative priority.
Relationship skills include: gracious behavior, communication, negotiation, leadership, and politics.
Personal skills include: transparency, passion, and context switching.
Business skills include: business knowledge, innovation, pragmatism, and vision.
The general impression in the software industry is that the software architect gets to her position because she is more technically capable / has memorized more obscure patterns / is quicker at the whiteboard. This book, for better or worse, grounds that impression in reality. The modern software architect is just another middle manager responsible for guiding junior developers and offshore teams. In many ways, the role is an acknowledgement that it is too difficult to hire skilled developers and so we are giving up on the ideal that all devs should be proficient in software practices and patterns.
It's a legitimate perspective, but a bit soul killing. To compensate, there are several chapters trying to make you feel good about yourself as a middle manager by talking about thinking outside the box and passion, etc. etc.
But is 'passionate middle manager' really a thing? Or even desirable?
Hendricksen speaks from a position of experience and proven success as a technology leader on some truly complex and interesting projects. With his resumé as proof that he's walked the walk, he provides clear and reasonable coaching to grow in the areas of Relationship Skills, Personal Skills and Business Skills. I encourage all aspiring architects (and other interested leaders in this space) to give this book a read -- even if you feel fully-qualified on these fronts, it's always good to get a refresher.
I also highly recommend Hendricksen's work with regard to Architecture in an Agile world:
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One of the most information packed leadership books I've seen. A must read for anyone looking to get ahead in the world of technology. Read morePublished 11 months ago by M. Dennison
Most effective, precise description of the problems we face in the discipline of architecture and how to get things working! Read morePublished 12 months ago by Abhilash
Raved to be an essential book. Hope this is as useful as everyone says it is... so far, so good. At the end of the day, hands on experience is gold.Published 13 months ago by Dradeth
There's a reason that this guy works at Reuters and not a tech leader like Amazon or Google, quite simply he is more worried about protecting people from having their fifi's hurt... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Global engineer
It's interesting but not much material for the price asked, in fact those recommendations are so general, that can apply to whatever...Thanks, next time I'll pay attention.Published on November 18, 2012 by Almeja