By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail

Benjamin Franklin’s famous quote, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail“, highlights what often goes wrong on projects that naively embrace the Agile maxim of YAGNI, or “You Ain’t Gonna Need It”. Three quarters (75%) of TCO of in-house software systems is spent on maintenance costs. Many of those maintenance costs are avoidable with a little foresight and front-loading of your projects with key design factors.

It’s true that developers are often drawn like moths to the flames of Hype. Staying abreast of the latest technologies is often key to their ongoing employability. They are often led – by the breathless marketing of vendors – to believe that the next-big-thing is world changing and justifies the cost of adoption. After spending enough time in the industry, a good architect can see through the mega-vendor’s marketing hype. Experience allows them to weigh the truly disruptive from the merely novel.

Spectacular achievement is always preceded by unspectacular preparation.

An experienced architect can help you see through the hype. They can help you to judge what you need and what you don’t. Keeping an eye on the strategic lie of the land helps an experienced architect to know whether a tactical course of action will come back to bite you later on.

Architecture is a discipline, like Software Engineering, where you must always choose a trade-off between competing demands. If you cut corners now, you may get to market sooner, but you may also end up with a heavy burden of unmaintainable code in the process, or you may end up with a system that performs poorly. That may be a price you are willing to pay now, to get the first mover advantage in a competitive landscape. Often, it’s possible to avoid the dilemma, and create something that will not have to be thrown away later. Those are the hidden savings you get from having a good architect around. An architect can draw on their experience to create designs of lasting worth without you having to pay too much up-front for them.


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