Cleveland Architecture SIG Inaugural Meeting Recap

Last night, I attended the inaugural meeting of the Cleveland Architecture SIG. The group itself is being organized by Jody A. Morgan and Andrew Craze.

We had people of various backgrounds in attendance – some with a formal architect title, and others who have had (or currently have) some architect-like roles. We started introducing ourselves around the circle, and then Jody and Andrew got the ball rolling as to what they want to achieve with the group.

They mentioned that they wanted to do a fishbowl format, so Phil Japikse (from the Cincinnati groups) taught us how to set up the fishbowl and how the format works. From there, we suggested topics for the fishbowl and then voted on them. Some of the topics that were mentioned included:

  • Patterns
  • Frameworks
  • Is Agile anti-architectural?
  • How do you define the role of an architect? How does your company see it?
  • What will the architect’s role be like in 15 years?

The main question of the night was defining the role of the architect. There was plenty of talk of the ivory tower. But the guys in attendance appeared to not like that part of the position, and some even questioned how to handle it when the company perceives the role of an architect as an ivory tower position but the architect wants to interact with the minions.

The Ivory Tower

First and foremost, I’m a developer. However, I do have enough leeway in my projects that I can sometimes make the call of using a technology or not using a technology. knowing what I do with our environment, our systems, and our end users. Personally, I would see a software architect as a person with a wide background – one that can understand the business goals and can see the technologies out there and see which technologies are appropriate for the project. Sometimes, the architect will want to use a technology that the devs won’t agree with. That’s when proofs of concepts need to be used, so that architects can get others to buy into their ideas.

As you can see in the proposed topics, those topics are pretty generic. These guys want to keep the group focused on architecture in general and do not want to shut out any particular platforms. So no matter what your platform is, if you’re a software architect, you should be at these meetings.

Thanks to Microsoft for hosting the inaugural meeting. Next month’s meeting is moving to LeanDog, on the former Hornblowers boat. The big topic that people really wanted to talk about was Frameworks. Watch their website for the next meeting announcement with the time and date. Hope to see you there!

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