costly, long-term investments with ill-defined benefits. A strategy, like a good military plan, should be adaptable—otherwise it will collapse upon contact with reality. Strategy is often confused with—and sometimes mistakenly thought to be in opposition to—tactics. Tactics are the specific actions that, by achieving objectives, are the implementation of your strategy.See also: Services, Software, Standards, Security, ScalabilityT is for Thinking“I think, therefore I clearly have too much time on my hands.”As a skill, thinking is typically not a problem for developers and architects. Finding the space and time to think is a little harder. In these days of a constant bombardment of information from the blogosphere—good, bad, and ugly—it can sometimes be hard to fi nd the inclination to think for oneself. Such a crucial activity needs to be given focus and an architect should be prepared to make the space and time and defend it. Think about thinking: What works for you? Long train journeys? Music? A hot bubble bath? It might be hard to install a bathroom suite in the offi ce, but you never know.See also: Technology, Transparency“AS GUARDIAN OF THE ARCHITECTURE AND THE VALUES BEHIND THE ARCHITECTURE, THE ARCHITECT IS THOUGHT LEADER. AS TEAM LEADER, AN ARCHITECT MAY NOT BE REQUIRED TO PERFORM LINE MANAGEMENT DUTIES, BUT MAY BE CALLED UPON TO BE AN ICON FOR THE REST OF THE TEAM, PROVIDING CONFIDENCE, INSIGHT, MOTIVATION, AND INSPIRATION.”
A Fun Lexicon for Architects32• Journal 15 • U is for Understanding“I do believe you’ve got it.”Understanding is complementary to knowledge. Understanding people, systems, and processes makes a significant difference to the outcome of a solution. It is the antithesis of assumption. Some nefarious types will present assumption as understanding—this is undoubtedly a Bad Thing and will not lead to the Promised Land of Good Architecture. Questioning is a key technique for reaching understanding—used well it can puncture assumption, myth, and other forces that could derail a project.See also: UML, UnixV is for Values“Explain to me again why we’re doing this...”The values of an architecture are best expressed as principles—the value system that guides decision-making and architectural practice is made up of these values. Principles are, therefore, the foundation that underlies architecture. To be effective there should be no more than a handful of enterprise-level principles and they must have the support of senior leaders. A good principle is clear, consistent, relevant, appropriately focused, adaptable, and stable.See also: Virtualization, Visualization, ViewsW is for Whiteboard“It’s probably easier if I just draw a picture.”Good whiteboarding skills are a true art—it is easy to become an apprentice, but achieving mastery is always elusive. On the evidence of our own careers, we suspect that many great ideas have never been implemented simply because of a ”bad gig” on the whiteboard.