The architect is the indispensable jack-of-all-trades on a scrum team

By Joost van Lier

One of the principles of the Agile manifesto reads, "The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams." An architect ensures connection in, and between, the self-organizing teams. But also ensures commitment to the organization's established architecture principles and guidelines. In practice, the role of solution architect is often forgotten in scrum teams, while the roles of "developer" and "tester" are explicitly named. The role of solution architect is an essential and indispensable role within a Scrum team.

Solution architects and Scrum teams 
Connecting IT and Business in Scrum 
Solution architect as a quality manager in Agile teams

In Scrum, the product owner's role is to connect with various stakeholders. He will do this mainly from his own position in the business. After all, that is where his roots and DNA are. The connecting factor in the ICT area and between the business and ICT, the architect, is often left out of the team. This creates, no to little, interaction with other scrum teams and/or too little interaction between business and ICT within the organization. 

Adding a solution architect to a Scrum team always pays off. Especially in an Agile environment, since wishes and priorities are allowed to change, but do impact the development of the information provision. A solution architect can quickly indicate the impact of changes. Here it is important to have the solution architect be the link between the builders of the solution, and the product owner. 

Adding a solution architect to a Scrum team has several advantages. For example, like the business analyst, this architect can function as the right hand of the product owner. For example, when working out the product backlog items so that they are "ready for sprint. He can also work out the requirements into a technical solution immediately afterwards. This allows the product owner to make better choices and prioritize better. 

Another advantage is that by creating architectures, the solution architect works ahead of the team. He is expected to create "just enough" design prior to the sprint. This design includes choices such as: What type of application will be developed, a web app, mobile app or workplace app? In addition, the solution architect will always choose software and applications that are already being used by the organization. As a result, the team will also comply with the architecture principles and guidelines established by the organization 

In addition to making choices, the solution architect is also the quality manager for the team. He is the content questioner for the team, and sets the lines for the expected quality. Consider the expected method of capturing code, prescribing best-practices for drafting code, and frequent and coordinated testing of new software. 

All in all, a solution architect adds more value than one might initially expect. Therefore, the question should not be whether architects should be involved in a Scrum development, but how. 

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