Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Vertical versus Lateral Architecture

Recently I started a thread on IATA discussion group with this post.

Are you a lateral or a vertical architect?

  • A lateral architect is one that tends to look across multiple options before drilling down.
  • A vertical architect is one that tend to go down quickly (usually a known path) and then problem solve issues on that path.

  • LA may survey consequences of using a Nordic Database, SQL Server, Oracle etc, C#, C++, F#, NetBeans, MVC, etc
  • A VA will try to reuse their last success and just twig issues.
There are places for both (and places where they are not matches).

Two responses stood out:

"Successful architecture is rarely accomplished by a single architect. Typically architecture will be done as a team of architects. This team is usually composed of an LA leading a team of VA's. The VA's are responsible for specific architecture (data base, email, etc) whereas the LA is responsible for the global picture and aligning the solution with the business goals. My experience has been than an LA can also be a VA if required but not all VA's are well suited to be an LA. There definitely is a place for both. The trick is to make best use of VA's and LA's."

David Wilson Technical Architect at Bourse de Montreal Inc.


"I agree too, as I see VA being just a developer leader..."

Paolo Lioy IT Architect at Paolo Lioy

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