Best Practices

Importance of a Software Architect for a Project

Structure is important for every project. It determines a project's viability and its ultimate outcome. Picture a skyscraper. Before construction workers proceed to lay the foundation and kick-start the building, the architect has to map out the building's design to ensure that the final product is functional and aligns with the owners' taste. This also applies to software development. In this case, the software architect maps out the software and its functionalities according to the needs of users or other stakeholders. This outlook serves as a guide for the tasks that will ultimately be executed by the software developers.

However, before we proceed to discuss the significance of a software architect, it is important to understand the roles executed by these professionals.

Who is a Software Architect?

A software architect is a highly experienced professional that defines the structure of a software system, including its functionalities, components, and interfaces. The software architect also determines how these components interact and adhere to specifications such as performance, security, and functionality. Software architects are often highly skilled. They possess a broad understanding of coding and programming languages. They also have extensive expertise in the software development process and have a sound grasp of design patterns. However, it is important to note that while their responsibilities are similar, software architects do not perform the same tasks as product managers.

Product managers solely analyze external patterns such as market trends and demands, product viability, and competitors' offerings. The job description of a product manager is entirely strategic. Essentially, the product manager's function is to ensure that products are aligned with the dictates of the market. On the flip side, the software architect's responsibilities are technical. The software architect researches the technical possibilities of a product, based on the needs of users. This means that software architects and product managers often work closely to determine the needs of users, while software architects kick-start the process of identifying suitable functionalities to fulfill these needs.

Functions of Software Architects

Identifying Core Needs and Selecting the Appropriate Technical Stack

As stated earlier, the software architect's primary responsibility is to identify the needs of stakeholders and align the product's structure and design to these needs. However, at every stage of software development, the team must determine if custom software must be built or if existing software can be utilized. In the latter case, the software architect will not be needed to develop an architectural solution for the project. However, if custom software must be developed, the software architect will be responsible for identifying the technical constraints of a project and how to navigate them and choosing the functional requirements to achieve the desired performance, security, and resilience. The software architect can also estimate the project's delivery time at this stage.

Planning the Project's Architectural Details

After deciding the basic functionalities required for a project, the software architect will be expected to develop detailed architectural blueprints for the project. This would involve specifying requirements likely to solve the problems of users and mapping out an implementation process for the solution. The software architect is also responsible for pinpointing risks and issues that are likely to be encountered while ensuring the security, usability, and deployment of the software. 

Developing a Prototype:

Like the architect of a building, a software architect develops a prototype to prove the viability of the project. The software architect primarily builds a prototype to ensure that the development team can easily build the solution with the chosen tech stack. The prototype's success is a huge indication that the software would be feasible. 

Overseeing the Development Process

The software architect generally checks in with the development team throughout the software development process. This is to ensure that the developers understand the vision for the project and adhere to the standards established. The architect could also review the code to ensure its compliance with stated rules. Ultimately, where the need for alterations arises, the architect has to incorporate those changes in the initial design to prevent negative spillover effects. 

Importance of a Software Architect for a Project

Cost Reduction

Many software projects fail due to avoidable structural mistakes. While these mistakes are often fixable, fixing costs can be expensive. The presence of a software architect can help reduce unnecessary costs by ensuring the structural viability of a product before the development stage is kick-started. 

Quality Assurance

As stated earlier, software architects study the functionalities required to fulfill users' needs and specifications in areas like performance and usability. Software architects are also responsible for setting standards (which developers are expected to adhere to) and identifying possible constraints to achieving the project's goals. These proactive actions will ensure that the project ultimately attains the highest quality possible. Additionally, software architects are fully involved in the testing and deployment stage. In this case, they are responsible for selecting appropriate quality assurance tools. They also ensure that the software is effectively deployed. 

Reduces Time-to-Market

Time to market is the timespan between the conception of a product and its eventual release to the market. Software developers estimate development time spans while building architectural structures. They also work closely with product owners to split the development process in accordance with this estimate. This ensures that you do not experience unnecessary delays before your software is eventually released to the market.


Software architects are the project's primary visionaries. Thus, their role is indispensable. This is why companies must increasingly explore the possibility of having a skilled software architect on board before proceeding with software development.

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