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“Nirvana of Architecture” is when no architects are needed anymore

Just until a couple of years ago I thought that “Nirvana of Architecture” (the ultimate state of architecture) is when you have an architecture function in the organisation with architects doing great architectural stuff creating a very high business value. They put focus on just the things that are important, create perspectives for understanding and makes change more efficient.

But nowadays I choose to see it in a slightly different way.

Focusing on just the things that are important, creating a very high business value and make changes more efficient is of course the wanted state. But “Nirvana of Architecture” is when there are no need for architects anymore. When everyone in the organisation, that are involved in change of any kind, are doing the right things, in the right way and at the right time – having an architectural mindset and way of communicating, and understanding their business context in everything they do.

Architects act as a personal trainers that lead, guide and motivate people to achieve a vision and goals in an efficient and holistic way. The architects are not there for their own sake, but to support the people in the organisation which are involved in change. And when the people have the ability to achieve the vision and goals in an efficient and holistic way by themselves, there are no need for architects anymore.

Nirvana of Architecture!

But to be honest it is very hard to build an organisation that reach this ultimate state. Maybe it is not even possible. Think about it! The more complicated organisation you have, the harder it will get. Here are some examples of aspects that aggravate the situation:

  • Personal agendas
  • Politics
  • Lust for power
  • Solution/problem orientation
  • Functional organisational silos
  • People that don’t like changes
  • etc

The list above might look quite negative or provoking. Well in a way it is, but its also a reality, and this is something companies struggle with more or less. Organisations will always include people with diverse mindsets, and diverse thinking is healthy for a company. But in the end regarding change, it is very much about what decisions people make and their outcomes. A business growing in the wrong direction is not healthy and could even lead to a catastrophe. We need architects to prevent that!

So what is all the fuss about? If we can not reach “Nirvana of Architecture”, why even bother writing an article about it?

Today many companies are investing in building architecture teams. You can say that it has become a modern thing to hire architects to your organisation. This is good in one way, since business leaders finally have recognized that architectural thinking can bring value to their business. But many companies tend to fall into the trap of making things more complicated in regards of ways of working with architecture, than it should be. Resulting in low added business value.

Remember the list above with aspects that aggravate the situation!?

Can you imagine that this list also applies to architecture teams? If our architects don’t “walk the talk” there will be just a small chance of a good result coming out of the architecture team.

Conclusion:

“Nirvana of Architecture” relates to the statement saying “Architects are an important complement to people involved in change, due to the lack of architectural mindset”.

My recommendation is that every architect in any organisation have “Nirvana of Architecture” as a mantra. There will come positive things out of that. Except for driving the architecture agenda towards goals and strategies, they should motivateguide and coach people that are involved in change (e.g. business leaders, business or IT developers, etc), to strengthen their architectural mindset and to be applied into their daily work. All people are not open to this, but one should try to take advantage of the opportunity of those who are.

Out of this comes an improved organizational ability of doing the right things, in the right way and at the right time, where people have better understanding of their business context regarding change.

And a high value adding business growth is important for business success!