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12 Essential Skills for Software Architects 1st Edition
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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?
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.
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: