The Multidimensional Skill Set of A Solution Architect

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Isaac Herman

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The Multidimensional Skill Set of A Solution Architect

26/02/2021 Categories: Articles

Reading Time: 6-8 min.  Opening Statement: This blog discusses the role of a Solution Architect during large technological implementations. If you don't know what a Solution Architect does, read on: Their job can be what prevents software development projects from devolving into complete chaos.  Solution Architects... What Would You Say You DO  Here? Remember the character of Tom from Office Space? He was the guy who got fired because his entire job consisted of bringing the customer plans over to the software engineers and then bringing the engineers’ response back to the customer, and so on. Although this was played for laughs as an example of the type of unnecessary job that is occasionally generated by corporate America, the truth is that Tom’s job is far more vital nowadays. It’s called being a Solution Architect (SA), and the job can be what prevents software implementations from devolving into chaos.  What They Do Here To put it simply, SAs discuss the business needs and goals of the project with the client’s stakeholders. Next, they analyze the business’s current architecture and figure out what technological solutions need to be created to accomplish the stated business goals. It’s also crucial for SAs to stay up to date on new technological solutions out there so customers stay innovative.  SAs explain complicated technical concepts and progress for multiple audiences from different backgrounds: Executives, developers, and marketing teams are all groups that need to understand the plan and progress in terms they understand. That’s why communication is the skill that a SA absolutely needs to master.  I Have People Skills! What to Look for in A solution architect A solution architect needs to have the technical know-how of a software engineer with the communication skills of a project manager all in one. We all know how complicated the topics and jargon of programming can be, but it is not the burden of the engineer to translate it into layman’s terms for the SA to bring back to the client. Engineers should feel comfortable giving SAs the technical details of the project, and trust that the SA will effectively communicate the progress and outcomes of their development work to the client.  That means SAs also understand that project updates need to be tailored to their audience. Depending on who they’re talking to, they may or may not need to get into technical details. The job is all about understanding specific audiences and communicating any progress, setbacks, and advice in words they’ll understand.   SAs communicate with a variety of audiences: business analysts, vendor representatives, high-level decision-makers, and even entire project teams. Although SAs will need to adjust their language to each set of stakeholders, empathy, honesty, professionalism, and confidence should be applied to any situation. It’s not easy; SAs need to maneuver through complicated project environments while dealing with expectations from all sides.  …So We Went Ahead and Just Fixed The Glitch: Find A Solution Architect With Technical Pedigree For an SA to speak with authority, they need to have the knowledge to back it up. Great SAs emerge from the “trenches” of engineering and IT because they accumulate substantial experiences in solving difficult

office space poster

development projects from devolving into complete chaos. 

Office Space the bobs

Solution Architects... What Would You Say You DO  Here?

Remember the character of Tom from Office Space? He was the guy who got fired because his entire job consisted of bringing the customer plans over to the software engineers and then bringing the engineers’ response back to the customer, and so on.

Although this was played for laughs as an example of the type of unnecessary job that is occasionally generated by corporate America, the truth is that Tom’s job is far more vital nowadays. It’s called being a Solution Architect (SA), and the job can be what prevents software implementations from devolving into chaos. 

What They Do Here

To put it simply, SAs discuss the business needs and goals of the project with the client’s stakeholders. Next, they analyze the business’s current architecture and figure out what technological solutions need to be created to accomplish the stated business goals. It’s also crucial for SAs to stay up to date on new technological solutions out there so customers stay innovative. 

SAs explain complicated technical concepts and progress for multiple audiences from different backgrounds: Executives, developers, and marketing teams are all groups that need to understand the plan and progress in terms they understand. That’s why communication is the skill that a SA absolutely needs to master. 

Tom Office Space

I Have People Skills! What to Look for in A solution architect

A solution architect needs to have the technical know-how of a software engineer with the communication skills of a project manager all in one. We all know how complicated the topics and jargon of programming can be, but it is not the burden of the engineer to translate it into layman’s terms for the SA to bring back to the client. Engineers should feel comfortable giving SAs the technical details of the project, and trust that the SA will effectively communicate the progress and outcomes of their development work to the client. 

That means SAs also understand that project updates need to be tailored to their audience. Depending on who they’re talking to, they may or may not need to get into technical details. The job is all about understanding specific audiences and communicating any progress, setbacks, and advice in words they’ll understand.  

SAs communicate with a variety of audiences: business analysts, vendor representatives, high-level decision-makers, and even entire project teams. Although SAs will need to adjust their language to each set of stakeholders, empathy, honesty, professionalism, and confidence should be applied to any situation. It’s not easy; SAs need to maneuver through complicated project environments while dealing with expectations from all sides. 

michael bolton

…So We Went Ahead and Just Fixed The Glitch: Find A Solution Architect With Technical Pedigree

For an SA to speak with authority, they need to have the knowledge to back it up. Great SAs emerge from the “trenches” of engineering and IT because they accumulate substantial experiences in solving difficult business problems through technology. People are more likely to listen to an SA that they know has put in the work to get to where they are. Credibility is what allows SAs to give authoritative direction and technical advice to both business and development teams.  

In our experience, good solution architects often work for at least seven years within other positions, including IT infrastructure, software development, business analysis, and as a technical lead. 

At Kensium, many of our SAs have over 10 years of experience working with Magento. Everyone here has worked as a developer as well as a project manager for many years before moving into the SA role. Some have even previously worked as CTOs!

Great architects possess an uncanny ability to know ‘what to do’ in just about any situation. This comes from them having ‘been there, done that’ across a broad range of organizational, technological, and industry situations. 

Peter

Walk Us Through A Typical Day: What SAs Deal With on a Daily Basis

Solution Architects deal with the specifics daily – tracking the progress and roadblocks of interfaces, data, unexpected bugs, and so on. At the same time, they need to keep the big picture in mind – what the business is trying to achieve by implementing these technological solutions and how effective their internal processes are. The right technical solution for an organization meets business needs at all levels, and SAs need to weave their way through these different departments comfortably to ensure the technology being delivered meets everyone’s expectations. 

The best SAs will give the most transparent, honest advice to achieve the required business results. This means standing firm on decisions and not being swayed by vendor hype, or products claiming to be “silver bullets” for an organization’s issues. This may also mean telling high-level decision-makers hard facts that they may not want to hear. We see this done well when the SA communicates with grace, respect, and a focus on the genuine needs of the organization.

Samir

Closing Time

Think about how quickly technology moves. What we perceive as common today either didn’t exist five years ago or has drastically changed. Solution architects need to maintain their relevance by being proactive and keeping up to date on the technology, IT, and business practice changes that take place in our world. The best solution architects are always learning and focusing on what’s a step ahead. 

If you are a solution architect, looking to move into the role, or part of an organization employing solution architects, we hope that this article helps you identify the value of the solution architect position, as well as the standards that need to be met. If you’re looking for a partner with solution architects that excel at what they do or want an SA to check out your tech stack, contact Kensium today. 

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Reading Time: 6-8 min. 
Opening Statement: This blog discusses the role of a Solution Architect during large technological implementations. If you don't know what a Solution Architect does, read on: Their job can be what prevents software development projects from devolving into complete chaos. 

Office Space the bobs

Solution Architects... What Would You Say You DO  Here?

Remember the character of Tom from Office Space? He was the guy who got fired because his entire job consisted of bringing the customer plans over to the software engineers and then bringing the engineers’ response back to the customer, and so on.

Although this was played for laughs as an example of the type of unnecessary job that is occasionally generated by corporate America, the truth is that Tom’s job is far more vital nowadays. It’s called being a Solution Architect (SA), and the job can be what prevents software implementations from devolving into chaos. 

What They Do Here

To put it simply, SAs discuss the business needs and goals of the project with the client’s stakeholders. Next, they analyze the business’s current architecture and figure out what technological solutions need to be created to accomplish the stated business goals. It’s also crucial for SAs to stay up to date on new technological solutions out there so customers stay innovative. 

SAs explain complicated technical concepts and progress for multiple audiences from different backgrounds: Executives, developers, and marketing teams are all groups that need to understand the plan and progress in terms they understand. That’s why communication is the skill that a SA absolutely needs to master. 

Tom Office Space

I Have People Skills! What to Look for in A solution architect

A solution architect needs to have the technical know-how of a software engineer with the communication skills of a project manager all in one. We all know how complicated the topics and jargon of programming can be, but it is not the burden of the engineer to translate it into layman’s terms for the SA to bring back to the client. Engineers should feel comfortable giving SAs the technical details of the project, and trust that the SA will effectively communicate the progress and outcomes of their development work to the client. 

That means SAs also understand that project updates need to be tailored to their audience. Depending on who they’re talking to, they may or may not need to get into technical details. The job is all about understanding specific audiences and communicating any progress, setbacks, and advice in words they’ll understand.  

SAs communicate with a variety of audiences: business analysts, vendor representatives, high-level decision-makers, and even entire project teams. Although SAs will need to adjust their language to each set of stakeholders, empathy, honesty, professionalism, and confidence should be applied to any situation. It’s not easy; SAs need to maneuver through complicated project environments while dealing with expectations from all sides. 

michael bolton

…So We Went Ahead and Just Fixed The Glitch: Find A Solution Architect With Technical Pedigree

For an SA to speak with authority, they need to have the knowledge to back it up. Great SAs emerge from the “trenches” of engineering and IT because they accumulate substantial experiences in solving difficult business problems through technology. People are more likely to listen to an SA that they know has put in the work to get to where they are. Credibility is what allows SAs to give authoritative direction and technical advice to both business and development teams.  

In our experience, good solution architects often work for at least seven years within other positions, including IT infrastructure, software development, business analysis, and as a technical lead. 

At Kensium, many of our SAs have over 10 years of experience working with Magento. Everyone here has worked as a developer as well as a project manager for many years before moving into the SA role. Some have even previously worked as CTOs!

Great architects possess an uncanny ability to know ‘what to do’ in just about any situation. This comes from them having ‘been there, done that’ across a broad range of organizational, technological, and industry situations. 

Peter

Walk Us Through A Typical Day: What SAs Deal With on a Daily Basis

Solution Architects deal with the specifics daily – tracking the progress and roadblocks of interfaces, data, unexpected bugs, and so on. At the same time, they need to keep the big picture in mind – what the business is trying to achieve by implementing these technological solutions and how effective their internal processes are. The right technical solution for an organization meets business needs at all levels, and SAs need to weave their way through these different departments comfortably to ensure the technology being delivered meets everyone’s expectations. 

The best SAs will give the most transparent, honest advice to achieve the required business results. This means standing firm on decisions and not being swayed by vendor hype, or products claiming to be “silver bullets” for an organization’s issues. This may also mean telling high-level decision-makers hard facts that they may not want to hear. We see this done well when the SA communicates with grace, respect, and a focus on the genuine needs of the organization.

Samir

Closing Time

Think about how quickly technology moves. What we perceive as common today either didn’t exist five years ago or has drastically changed. Solution architects need to maintain their relevance by being proactive and keeping up to date on the technology, IT, and business practice changes that take place in our world. The best solution architects are always learning and focusing on what’s a step ahead. 

If you are a solution architect, looking to move into the role, or part of an organization employing solution architects, we hope that this article helps you identify the value of the solution architect position, as well as the standards that need to be met. If you’re looking for a partner with solution architects that excel at what they do or want an SA to check out your tech stack, contact Kensium today.