Architects, Blind Spots, and Things That Go Wrong

A good architect can see how something would work and also how it might not work.

It’s the gaps and the blind spots in a seemingly good architecture that will completely de-rail an entire program.

Gaps in an architecture sometimes even slide through without scrutiny. Sometimes others miss them too. That’s not good.

Architects have to be on top of it and have methods to look at things from different perspectives and really think about what could go wrong. They need to understand their level of awareness of the technology and business domains. They need to bring in others to scrutinize what they are doing and ensure productive dialogue about the approach.

Otherwise, you are facilitating gaps and not being of good service.


It could be as simple as a missed opportunity to ensure authentication and security standards are incorporated in the solution. CISO fails to sign off just before go-live. I’ve seen it. I’ve seen projects go back to development for months because architects’ missed core security controls in the design. It passed scrutiny the first time around, but the architect left out key details that should have been known and brought to light, and if they were they’d have been corrected early.

Or, there could even be a gap in the details that have a significant impact on the design. Let’s say you have tightly coupled HTTP components that the architect designed to be strung together. The architect knew that some of those components would be long running by design but now doesn’t understand why it’s failing in testing when processing runs long. The timeout configurations on the client and service were adjusted accordingly, but it still fails.

The failure is that the architect didn’t have the knowledge that because these are cloud platform components the built-in load balancer times out after 2 minutes regardless of what the client or service time out is set to. An entire design that looked good on paper has to be re-worked after it’s been developed because the details were not well enough understood by the architect who put the design together.

Be careful out there. Be self-aware. Know your stuff.

These are sometimes honest mistakes. Sometimes, negligence.

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