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12 Essential Skills for Software Architects [Paperback]

Dave Hendricksen
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

25 Sep 2011 0321717295 978-0321717290 1
Master the Crucial Non-Technical Skills Every Software Architect Needs!

 

Thousands of software professionals have the necessary technical qualifications to become architects, but far fewer have the crucial non-technical skills needed to get hired and succeed in this role. In today’s agile environments, these “soft” skills have grown even more crucial to success as an architect. For many developers, however, these skills don’t come naturally–and they’re rarely addressed in formal training. Now, long-time software architect Dave Hendricksen helps you fill this gap, supercharge your organizational impact, and quickly move to the next level in your career.

 

In 12 Essential Skills for Software Architects, Hendricksen begins by pinpointing the specific relationship, personal, and business skills that successful architects rely upon. Next, he presents proven methods for systematically developing and sharpening every one of these skills, from negotiation and leadership to pragmatism and vision.

 

From start to finish, this book’s practical insights can help you get the architect position you want–and thrive once you have it!

 

The soft skills you need…

…and a coherent framework and practical methodology for mastering them!

 

Relationship skills

Leadership, politics, gracious behavior, communication, negotiation

 

Personal skills

Context switching, transparency, passion

 

Business skills

Pragmatism, vision, business knowledge, innovation


Frequently Bought Together

12 Essential Skills for Software Architects + Software Architecture in Practice (SEI Series in Software Engineering) + Software Systems Architecture: Working With Stakeholders Using Viewpoints and Perspectives
Price For All Three: 103.89

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Addison Wesley; 1 edition (25 Sep 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321717295
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321717290
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 18 x 1.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 378,462 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

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Product Description

About the Author

Dave Hendricken is a software architect for Thomson Reuters. Dave enjoys working closely with new product development teams to create innovative legal products for large-scale online platforms such as Westlaw.com. In his spare time, Dave enjoys mentoring the Eagan High School Robotics team, downhill skiing with his kids, fishing for large-mouth bass, golfing early in the morning, and spending time at the cabin building things like trebuchets, go-carts, and rain barrel watering systems with his kids.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb 15 Mar 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The question regarding what an architect's skill set should be is usually met with answers such as: excellent knowledge of software methodologies, non-functional requirements and all around superb technical ability. In '12 Essential skills for software Architects', Dave Hendricksen challenges this view by considering what other skills are required besides technical excellence.

In summary these skills are either to do with dealing with people and business acumen. Some examples of the people skills:

1. If someone makes a mistake, look for the reasons why they made the certain decisions, rather than dismissing them for the mistake. The idea here is that a lesson can be learnt and the same mistake should not be made again.

2. A range of communication tips from being a better listener to dealing with conflict in a professional manner.

3. Leadership tips: being prepared to eat your own "dog food", being transparent in all your work and combining your passion with a persistence so that when challenges manifest you are prepared to endure and show fortitude.

4. Understanding different psychological traits. For example, Hendricksen presents an interesting psychological spectrum where "options people" are on side and "procedures people" are on the other. Options people tend to spend too long thinking instead of doing and procedures people tend to only want to do something the way they know how to do it and only by a way which they have used before.

Now, a lot of all this may come across as common sense. But, in the cut and thrust of a challenging technical environment it can easily be forgotten and usually is. This is a recurring theme of the book, a reminder of the things we can easily forget but really should not.
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rock Solid Advice for Software Architect Soft Skills 6 Oct 2011
By T. Anderson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The two things I like least about being a software architect is doing documentation and exercising social soft skills. On a lot of projects there comes a time when there is nothing I want to do more than explain to a business user why they are wrong. Dead wrong. We all know that does not fair well with the egos most business users have, and does not fair well with your potential future on the given project. This book contains information that will show you how to use different skills to help you graciously handle the harder conversations.

This book is broken into three sections which cover, relationship skills, personal skills, and business skills.

Relationship skills has chapters on leadership, politics, gracious behavior, communication, and negotiation.

Personal skills has chapters on context switching, transparency, and passion.

Business skills has chapters on pragmatism, vision, business knowledge, and innovation.

I think the author does a great job covering the necessary soft skills for an architect. I really like the way the author shows the different skill levels using the technical glass ceiling.

The author's main point with context switching is that you must be able to do it and he provides some great tips on getting good at it. Another perspective that I find important is understanding how much time it wastes no matter how good you get at it. You also need to be aware that your team members may not be good at it. If you don't have a good project manager on the team running interference and limiting context switching, it falls on the architect to run interference. I find it more important to manage context switching than it is to attempt to master it.

Another thing I found with the book is it is all about the positive. That is not bad, but in the real world everything is not always positive and does not always end on a positive note. In the consulting world you are bound to end up with a teammate that is either not qualified for the role they are in or they are not mature enough for the position they are in. Although the ideal situation is to mentor them into becoming the ideal employee, time and budget constraints don't always allow for that. You will need to recommend having them replaced if you want to do right by your client. This is a much rarer situation in a fulltime employee environment. In those environments employees are not as disposable. Consultants are expected to hit the ground running.

Overall I found the book's content all great advice, but I find it more useful in a fulltime employee setting than in a consulting setting. As an employee I have to get along with everyone, I need to play political game, and I have to get deeply involved in the business. I am there for the long haul.

As a consultant I am not there for the long haul, I am there to accomplish a mission with a limited scope and usually with limited resources. I usually always start with all the advice in the book with regards to educating the business, playing some politics, and negotiating, but with limits. Those limits are in place to ensure a successful engagement. I find that I do not always have the luxury to of being politically correct or always being gracious. As a consultant you can get away with it since you are a high priced outside resource not considered part of the family, and in many cases babies need to be called ugly as graciously as possible.

I am not saying I disagree with anything in this book. I think it is all great valuable advice and dead on. I just think there is a little more to the story. That said, this book is the place to start learning the soft skills needed to become a successful software architect.

I think the book would be great for anyone who wants to improve relationship, personal, and business skills. Although the book is written in the context of Software Architecture, anyone could benefit from the advice in the book.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Book about soft skills 7 Dec 2012
By Anto Jurkovic - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Nice book with wrong title.

As the author states in preface of the book

"My goal for this book is to enable you to learn the essential soft skills that you will need to master as a software architect.

This book assumes that you already have the requisite technical skills to become an architect; as such, it does not focus on these types of skills. Instead, this book focuses on 12 essential soft skills that are critical to the daily activities of being an architect. These are the skills that are typically the most challenging for people with technology backgrounds."

He shows us soft skills from the point of architect view. But anyone, who wants to be valuable and trust worthy citizen in the business world, will benefit from this book.

The author divided the book in three parts (relationship skills, personal skills, and business skills) according to skills relative priority.

Relationship skills include: gracious behavior, communication, negotiation, leadership, and politics.

Personal skills include: transparency, passion, and context switching.

Business skills include: business knowledge, innovation, pragmatism, and vision.
6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Solid Advice for the Engineer Looking to Make the Next Leap 10 Nov 2011
By John Reynolds - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
As a Software Engineering Director, I sometimes struggle to find and coach talented engineers as to what things are keeping them from taking the next step, becoming more influential and gaining deserved recognition for their smarts. This book provides the proper checklist and recipes for success to bridge the gap between being a smart person and building the appropriate relationships, business skills and influence to make your bright ideas readily understood and executable.

Hendricksen speaks from a position of experience and proven success as a technology leader on some truly complex and interesting projects. With his resumé as proof that he's walked the walk, he provides clear and reasonable coaching to grow in the areas of Relationship Skills, Personal Skills and Business Skills. I encourage all aspiring architects (and other interested leaders in this space) to give this book a read -- even if you feel fully-qualified on these fronts, it's always good to get a refresher.

I also highly recommend Hendricksen's work with regard to Architecture in an Agile world:
[...]
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars 9 July 2014
By Dmitry Talisman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Very useful.
1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars what soft skills do you need? 27 Jan 2012
By Jeanne Boyarsky - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
"12 Essential Skills for Software Architects" covers the soft skills technical people need to advance. Parts of it are slanted towards soft skills that are specific to tech leads/architects. Other parts would fit in any soft skills book but the title gets technical folks to read it. Even for these parts, it helps that they were written by an architect as the language/writing style is easy to relate to.

The audience is architects and technical leads who want to be architects. I think it applies to any senior member of the team though. Or even someone who wants to understand what it is like to be an architect.

I could really relate to the "stateless" points as context switching is so prevalent. He has a good philosophy that architects are not managers but are part of the management team. And he explains how politics works without making it all bad. The problem is certain practices of politics not the idea itself. In fact, he quotes a definition where politics is about making decisions with a group. Nothing inherently distasteful here!

I can tell this is a book I will refer to again and again.

ps - I also like that page three has a reference to FIRST robotics - with respect to gracious behavior. (gracious professionalism in the FIRST world.)

---
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing this review on behalf of CodeRanch.
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