Humility and the software architect

By on November 26, 2013 in Software Architect

The role of the software architect is as much about relationships as it is about technology.   This is why one of the most important qualities attributes of the software architect is humility.  Humility is important because it is an enabler.  It enables your team to achieve greatness through openness, acceptance, and empathy.

Humble architects recognize that everyone on the team has something valuable to contribute.  Humble architects are not self-deprecating, they appreciate their own strengths and talents as much as the strengths and talents of the individuals on their team.  They recognize that they can learn something from everyone, even the most junior member of their team.

At the other end of the spectrum are arrogant architects.  Arrogance is typically perceived as threatening but often is just a mask for someone that feels threatened.  Arrogant architects are deaf to the ideas of others because they mistakenly believe that their ideas are the only ones with merit.  These types of architects put up walls that isolate them from their team members and shut down collaboration.  Arrogant architects are rarely respected and often find their teams working around them instead of with them.

Humility on the other hand is open and inviting. Humble architects are approachable, accepting and appreciate the ideas of others.  They recognize that the individuals on their team have much to contribute and that the best ideas are often the synthesis of the many good ideas. They welcome and even promote team collaboration, recognizing that relationships are built on a basis of mutual respect.

Humble architects are open and honest about mistakes they have made and understand that they will make more in the future.  They don’t waste time being critical or pointing fingers, they recognize that mistakes are part of the human condition and that we all can learn from them. This openness and acceptance fosters a safe environment for their team members to expression ideas even when they might result in failure.

Humble architects inspire their team from a position of humility. Teams are inspired because their architect is a committed and dedicated leader that understands their own success depends on the success of others.

What are your thoughts on this topic? Do you agree that humility is an important quality attribute of the architect? Are you a humble architect or have you worked with one that has inspired you? Let’s continue discussing this topic in the discussion session of this post.



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  1. Reece Bradley says:

    I do agree. Easily I swap out the word “architect” and put any leadership title, but I would emphasize the importance for these qualities to be in the software architect. I find that personally, it helps to always to remember its about the team, not your agenda. Its about the team, not whoever came up with the idea. Pride is a thorn that can affect everyone at various levels. Removing ourselves from the equation helps us think more clearly. One of the architects goals should be creating a positive atmosphere. I’m not really adding anything new here, but those were my thoughts.