Subtitle: “Redefining the Architect’s Role in the Digital Enterprise”, by Gregor Hohpe

Different approaches to the subject of architecture

Anyone who deals with the topic of software, IT or enterprise architecture - even does a little research - recognizes that there are still different approaches to this discipline in terms of the underlying methodology and the working method relevant in practice. In an attempt to promote a corresponding standardization, methods such as TOGAF or Zachman offer comprehensive Models regarding the procedure and contain rules and associated certifications. However, it is questionable whether such approaches can still be implemented and mapped in practice in view of the increasingly rapid pace of digitalization. This raises the question of more pragmatic, more flexible approaches, which - also according to the Agile Manifesto - ask “individuals and their interactions via processes and tools”. Hohpe represents exactly that group of pragmatists who formulate observations, heuristics and principles of action from their own experience, which corresponds more to a lightweight and agile approach.

About the author

Hohpe himself is no stranger, anyone who has ever seriously dealt with the topic of integration or middleware is sure to know his standard work Enterprise Integration Patterns (related website It is also worth knowing that Mr. Hohpe is Senior Principal Evangelist at Amazon Web Services (AWS). On his website you can find more information about his books as well as various blog posts.

Basic understanding according to Hohpe

In order to create a basic understanding of how an architect works, Hohpe uses (as already indicated in the title) the analogy of an elevator, with which the various floors in a company building can be reached. In his opinion, it is essential for an architect to get in touch with the various stakeholders at all levels - be it at the executive level, middle management or directly with the technicians - in order to be able to precisely assess the respective scope for action as well to always be able to offer the people the context together with the relevant information.


The following list summarizes the most important key points/guidelines on various topics covered in the book in the form of notes.

Role understanding of an architect:

  • “An architect should be someone who actually builds”
  • “… a good gardener, just like a good architect, is no dictatorial mater planner and certainly doesn’t make all the detailed decisions about in which direction the grass should grow.”
  • its the architect’s job to translate technical options into meaningful choices for the business.

Architect - Approach and Skills:

  • “Periodic gluing, gardening, guiding, impressing and a little bit of all-knowing every now and then can make for a pretty good architect.”

Business vs. IT:

  • “Enterprise architecture is the glue between business and IT architecture.”

Value of the architecture in the company:

  • “Generally, good architecture buys you flexibility”.
  • “The set of design decisions about any system that keeps its implementors and maintainers from exercising needless creativity.”


  • “If it hurts, do it more often”
  • “Automate Everything; What You Can’t Automate, Make a Self-Service”
  • “automation is not just about efficiency but primarily about repeatability and resilience.”

Standardization of the IT platform

  • “Platform standards essentially split the IT into two parts: a lower layer that standardizes those elements that are unlikely to form a competitive differentiator and an upper layer of the in-house-developed software that provides direct business value and competitive differentiation.”
  • “The standard with the biggest economic impact have been compatibility or interface standards: specifications that allow interchangeability of parts”


  • “Play is work.”

Collaboration, synchronous/asynchronous; remote versus on-site:

  • “Writing scales”
  • “Avoid Sync Points - Meetings Don’t Scale”
  • “Phone calls, …, in an open environment, the not only interrupt you but also your coworkers.”
  • “I value very much personal interaction for brainstorming, negotiation, solution finding, bonding or just having a good time.”

Digital Mindset:

  • “Code is what software innovation is made of, so if you want to be digital, you’d better learn to code!”
  • “The main competitive asset for an organization is its ability to learn fast.”



Personally assessed, the book received a value of 5 in the Geiger counter rating (scale 1 (= flop) - 5 (= top)).