Friday, April 27, 2007

From Architect to Wrangler

One of the nice things about ThoughtWorks is the ability to create your own title, which leads to some interesting business cards (like a title of "Seat Warmer"). But, the restriction is that you only get one set of business cards, so choose wisely. Instead of going nuts on my first set, I chose the ultra-conservative "Application Architect", which is a reasonable approximation for what I do on projects.

But now I've changed. The title of "Architect" for software developers has gotten so diluted that its meaningless anymore. In fact, its almost pejorative because so many "paper" architects give it a bad name. I've gotten "Oh, dude, I'm so sorry" looks from people when I tell them I'm an architect, assuming that I've had a head injury or something and can't do real development work anymore. After long formulating and advice from others, I've now changed my title to the probably more apt "ThoughtWorker/Meme Wrangler". As you've probably noticed, I love the "meme" meme (after all, you are reading this on the "memeagora" blog). While it's a little cutsy, at least I'm not treated as a tragic has-been by coworkers and clients.

The interesting side effect of this happens because I put my title on my presentation slides. In the US, but particularly overseas, people ask me "What does mee-mee wrangler mean?" So, I get to explain it.

But that's way better than the now deprecated "Architect" title. It's a shame that, because we have no real industry-wide certifications, the nominally most advanced title has been co-opted by so many people divorced from reality. I've had to defend decisions made for SOA initiatives in front of "Architectural Review Boards" by people who last wrote code in COBOL. Can they really make good decisions about modern technology if they never touch it?

Git along, now, little neuron...

3 comments:

Srinivas said...

May be the choice of the word architect in the first place was wrong. A architect in the building industry knows different architectures. The building technology's core does not change too often and architecture styles change much less frequently. In our world, the paradigms keep changing much faster and hence the so called 'architect' never keeps up with the pace. May be Tech-Sprinthoner is more close... A person who can sprint while he/she runs long distances.

Jason said...

I prefer the term mountain guide. Someone who can read the weather, the mountain, the dangers and safely navigate the team avoiding the crevasses, the avalanches and any other challenge that may come their way.

Software development is a little like climbing mountains. We use tools. We use experience and intuition. Both endeavours have risk. Both endeavours have elements beyond our control.

Jason said...

I prefer the term mountain guide. Someone who can read the weather, the mountain, the dangers and safely navigate the team avoiding the crevasses, the avalanches and any other challenge that may come their way.

Software development is a little like climbing mountains. We use tools. We use experience and intuition. Both endeavours have risk. Both endeavours have elements beyond our control.