I have recently started a new assignment as a member of an architecture team, which had not happened to me in a while. In the past few years, I have been working as application developer and/or agile coach, occasionally fighting/collaborating with architecture teams. This new gig is interesting, in the sense that I get to experience first hand how technical teams create barriers around them.
Here is an example of a talk I had recently in the team.
- [colleague] so, we will have to deliver a repackaged version of Maven 2 to the application developers
- [me] why? it would be easier to let them use the official version, and explain them how to customize it. Besides, when I was working on projects that had architecture teams, I hated being handled repackaged and crippled versions of tools. It made how life harder and development slower.
- [colleague] that’s not how it works here; they are developers
- [me] ???
I think architects in their ivory tower are really a caste apart, while developers are the commoners. This is the same spirit that we can see in projects that use MDA (Model-Driven Architectures): “let’s have brilliant programmers as architects in a corner, and stupid programmers as application developers in another corner.” (on this note, if you can read French, please see my post on Valtech Blog)
The bright spot is that the head of the architecture team is going to attend a Scrum course soon. But our troubles are not over. Here is a excerpt of a talk I had with him:
- [me] so, moving from SOAP Web Services in Java 1.4 to SOAP WebServices in Java 1.6 is going to be a lot of work
- [him] hey, you know what, we should just deliver a intermediate version with no WS at all, just EJBs!
- [me] we can do that?
- [him] yes, no trouble; it is really easy to change the clients; besides SOAP sucks
- [me] yeah, it does. So… why we were using SOAP WS again?
- [him] because we were told to
It remains to be seen whether my position inside an architecture team will make it easier to change habits, or whether I’ll let myself adopt this attitude.