Aug 012012

Last week I wrote an Advisor for our Business & Enterprise Architecture practice about the role of the solution architect.  I thought I’d share my overview of how that role compares to the enterprise architect’s. Is this how the roles are delineated in your company?

Topic Solution Architecture Enterprise Architecture
Scope Single solution or set of related solutions All current and future solutions and COTS
Primary Goals Ensure that the solution fits within the enterprise context Define the enterprise context including business, information, application, and technology
Responsibility Translates nonfunctional and functional requirements into design, within enterprise context Translates strategies into target architectures and roadmaps
Tradeoffs Enterprisestrategy and goals vs. solution tactical and delivery requirements Prioritization and rationalization of conflicting business, information, and technology requirements
Primary Artifacts Solutions architectures and designs Enterprisereference architectures, patterns and standards
Primary Stakeholders Solutions owners, EA, development team, technology Executive leadership, business leaders, CIO, solutions
Characteristics Credibility with solutions teams and owners Broad knowledge and experience, vision
Skills Conceptualization, patterns, modeling, design, communications Contextualization, conceptualization, abstraction, modeling, communications
Reporting Structure Assigned to and functions as part of solution team; may report to solution owner or line of business, development, or EA Reports to EA team, typically part of CIO organization

I’m happy to send you a copy of the Advisor with some of my rationale. Just leave a comment or send me a message (mrosen at cutter dot com).


  13 Responses to “Role of the Solution Architect — a Summary Table”

  1. Mike,

    I really like the shaort table, however it only makes sense when you come up with all the roles in architecture and the interaction, such as the TOGAF people tried in the past (not ideal, but at least they came up with a full list)

    Best regards,


  2. avatar


    Thanks for the comments. I’m not trying to replicate the work that TOGAF has done, and I think I take a very different approach to the characteristics that I have chosen to examine wrt the roles. This list is exactly what my client wanted and needed, so I guess I don’t agree that it’s not useful without all the roles and interactions. I agree it’s not comprehensive and won’t answer everyone’s questions, but it did the trick for its intended purpose.


  3. Hi Mike

    An interesting table. I particularly liked the difference in the skills needed.


    PS – please could you send me a copy of the Advisor

  4. Hi Mike,

    I would appreciate it very much if you could send me a copy of your Adviser with respect to the role of Solution Architect.

    Thanks and regards.


  5. A very usefull advice, please send me a copy.

  6. Hello Mike

    Please send me a copy.

    Thank you in advance.


  7. Hi Mike

    I think this table nails the roles very good. I’d very much lika some more info and would like a copy of the SA Adviser.


  8. Thanks for the article Mike.
    As an Architect for many years, I have worked at both an Enterprise (ie : strategic/target) and Solution (ie : project/transition) level. I like to regularly swap roles in order to ensure my strategic view is well-grounded in what is practical and achievable at a solution level, and to better understand the issues and implications of the principles, designs and standards defined.
    I would appreciate a copy of the more detailed perspective – one question would be whether you view these roles as peers, or see Solution Architecture as subordinate to Enterprise Architecture – for me, there has to be a two-way flow of information between these roles, not just a strategic to project level dissemination.

  9. Hi Mike,

    We are currently in the process determining the skills required for the role of a Solution Architect within the Enterprise Architecture practice. I would appreciate a copy of the Advisor to promote some discussion on the topic.


  10. avatar

    Mike, very useful summary. I would say that in a number of places the responsibility of the solution architecture includes the costing of solution options. Would very much appreciatea copy of the Advisor.


  11. avatar

    Please also send me a copy, many thanks, very thoughtful article

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