JOCCH publishes papers of
significant and lasting value in
all areas relating to the use of ICT
in support of Cultural Heritage,
seeking to combine the best of
computing science with real
attention to any aspect of the
cultural heritage sector.
are. Architect Tom and his co-orbiters
further demonstrate astronautic allegiance by habitually speaking at
extremely high levels of abstraction.a
This tactic is very important because
it allows astronauts to avoid engaging in tangible discussions that might
lead to disclosing they really have no
idea of what they are talking about.
And finally, architecture astronauts
often compromise themselves by
voicing their dislike of “old” software
technologies and design tactics. Astronauts prefer new technologies
such as Web services, which now enable distributed computing, and XML,
which has unharnessed the power of
At some point in the journey of a
project being led by an architecture
astronaut, the wheels on spacecraft begin to wobble and the spacesuit shows
signs of transparency. It is usually a lack
of tangible progress demonstrating
the legitimacy of an astronautic vision
that ultimately triggers a fiery descent
from space. Beyond the traditional diversionary tactic of asserting that the
design and development staffs are too
incompetent to implement the vision,
architecture astronauts rely heavily
on the “spacewalk shuffle” where they
move fast in their spaceboots to invent
even further out-of-this-world ideas
with which to divert and calm concerns
with the original vision. The most clever architecture astronauts can string a
project along all the way until its doom
without ever being exposed as the charlatans they really are.
How is it that these astronauts
can be placed in organizational positions with significant influence on
the technical trajectory of a project?
What qualifications entitle some of
these astronauts to even have the title
“architect” printed on their business
cards or appended to their email signatures? The credential my wife earned
in a food-handling course entitling her
to sell nachos at our son’s track meets
represents more qualification for doing her job than many astronauts could
produce for doing theirs. My wife, however, does not misrepresent herself as
a nacho architect.
There is no evidence to suggest the
Architecture Astronaut Continuum will
a Also noted by Joel Spolsky in .
the ability to
create an illusion of
people who don’t
know any better
is really a trait of a
not a software
cease to exist anytime soon, astronauts
will continue to be hired, exposed, and
fired. As a result, software projects
will continue to be susceptible to the
Continuum’s accompanying carnage
unless they adopt tactics to defend
against it. The time has long passed for
many software organizations to protect
themselves from the damaging effects
of architecture astronautics by requiring some form of credential or training
before allowing their employees to call
themselves architects or assume the
responsibilities of one. The ability to
create an illusion of knowledge among
people who don’t know any better is really a trait of a shrewd salesperson, not
a software architect.
Are you an architecture astronaut
that is diverting the technical efforts of
your program from following a realistic
and value-added trajectory? If so, fear
not, there is hope. A flourishing segment of the global marketplace is being
fueled by astronauts just like you who
have recognized a need to get out of
high orbit and restore the constraints of
reality to their thinking. Flavors such as
peppermint, bayberry, cranberry, and
wintergreen are just a few that await at
an oxygen bar near you!
Can you hear me Architect Tom?
Can you hear me Architect Tom?
1. Don’t let architecture astronauts scare you. Joel on
software (apr. 21, 2001); http://www.joelonsoftware.
Alex E. Bell ( email@example.com) is a software
architect with the boeing company.