Difference between software architecture and software design

Architect has responsibility for ensuring coherence of all aspects of the project as an integrated system. Architect responsible for overall technical quality, difference between software architecture and software design for lower implementation decisions. The architect holds the vision and forsees the system before it is built.

Being the holder of the vision. How long your mistakes take to get rid of. Money and the willingness and drive to lead people. Pragmatic overseer of the technical solution. Communicating with the business as well as the techies, selling the vision to both. Outward looking not inward looking from development team. Your impression of yourself and other people’s impression of you.

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Maintaining and communicating a consistent macro vision of the system under development. Needing to have an opinion but delegating and listening to others. Architect defines architecture, infrastructure, general layout of the system, technologies and frameworks. There’s not a single key difference, but one is developers don’t have responsibility for the whole project but architects do. Vision and “seeing the bigger picture” are the most common themes, although responsibility and leadership also feature heavily. If you’re reading this and didn’t come along to the user group, what are your thoughts?

More details will follow, but this is your chance to dissect a small project and take a look at the reasons behind the decisions that we made. It should not be missed that an Architect should not only work from “above”, or at a higher level than a Developer. How did everyone miss the most important distinction? Although “selling the vision” comes close.

The principal skills of an architect are the soft skills necessary for building consensus and getting buy-in. Technical skills are a dime a dozen, but getting people to put aside their egos and work on ideas that they didn’t originate or even agree with is what makes a successful architect. This article is talking about a ‘software’ architect. I’d say a successful architect’s second biggest asset are soft skills, the first being good awareness of technology and the ability to think strategically and see the bigger picture. I do believe that the following only applies to a small number of architects and that my own experiences have been fairly disproportionate. Generally developers that have the following traits as part of their normal personality quickly move to architecture or anything other than development.

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