An Architect as a hygiene factor

I was in a sprint review meeting today and I had a slot to present the architecture which I'd designed on a new project.  The CEO was in the presentation and as soon as the title page came up, he immediately asked to skip my section since he felt he wouldn't understand it and he would rely on our expertise.

Now I'm not taking that personally as an inditement of my presenting skills ... [;)]

But it occurred to me that he has a point, and a very good one at that.  Business people generally aren't interested in the implementation of technology, except that it must work and allow them to carry out the work of the business.  If the architect does his work properly then the delivered project will smoothly enable the business and the business people will not give him a second thought.  On the other hand, if the architect doesn't do a good job then he will get noticed for all the wrong reasons.

Now in certain management theories, factors which can cause dissatisfaction are called hygiene factors and they are presented as separate to factors which can cause satisfaction (these are called motivators in the theory).  It occurs to me that an architect is, generally, a hygiene factor in that they can bring about dissatisfaction to business users.  The only potential satisfaction which an architect can bring about is if the project is well delivered - but that's probably what the business users are expecting anyway (or at least hoping for).

I guess a corollary of this is that an architect shouldn't expect much positive feedback from business users.  The delivery team clearly can expect this because they are clearly adding value, but the primary aim of the architecture and the architect is to not get in the way.

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