One of the greatest benefits of being an architect, particularly within the software world, is the ability to define a vision and see it become reality. To take an idea, visualize it in your mind, and make it reality is an incredible accomplishment.

The ability to turn an idea into reality isn’t unique to an architect. There are brilliant women and men out there in all walks of life who consistently come up with great ideas, find opportunities, create connections, and turn their ideas into reality. It’s what smart people do – they see someone or something, they recognize a need (which might even be unknown to the person or organization), and they follow through, deliver, and exceed expectations.

Delivering on an idea requires a healthy dose of optimism. An architect must see the possibilities in their own mind, but must also be able to communicate that vision in a way which allows others to see it as well. Bringing others along is a leadership skill, and is important when creating a shared vision that is not only understood, but embraced. I’m not talking about getting buy-in or acceptance, this is about making the journey one that is owned by all.

If an architect spends too much time dwelling upon future possibilities, a danger of moving too far ahead of reality exists. This can lead to developing a mental storyline that is biased by possibility rather than being based upon reality. This perceived future can lead to unheard needs, missed expectations, and ultimately disappointment. Therefore, it’s important than an architect stays connected to those around him, to remain grounded while keeping an eye towards the future.

It’s also important to get others to truly believe in those possibilities and to not just accept them, but embrace them as their own. When someone believes in something, they will be driven by the very desire to make it real. This takes a high degree of trust, not only that the idea has merit, but trust between the individuals involved. When you mix belief with trust, add a splash of enthusiasm, and sprinkle in a pinch of passion, the chemical reaction combines into a powerful force that can accomplish anything.

And finally, as an architect, one must listen to those close to them. It’s important to not only hear their thoughts, but to be vulnerable and accept that your vision may be incomplete or flawed, admitting when you’re wrong. Being vulnerable, staying connected, and remaining receptive to other’s perspective creates openness and builds trust, both of which are essential to keeping relationships strong.

If you thought this post was going to just be about software development, I hope you could see that there is much more to being a good architect than technical skills.