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It is not easy (Impossible? – But that’s why I like it!) to just state what Architecture and Engineering are. The relationship between these two disciplines is complex and more grey than black and white. And so, the best way to more fully understand them is to compare and contrast them in various dimensions.

Architecture tends to be more art than science.

Engineering tends to be more science, than art.

Architecture is more about looking up (Why) than looking down (How).

Engineering is more about looking down (How) than looking up (Why).

Architects tend to think in terms of outside-in.

Engineers tend to think in terms of inside-out.

Architects are aware of the parts of a system, but tend to focus on the whole.

Engineers are aware of the whole system, but tend to focus on the parts.

Architects tend to be more concerned with the why > what translation with a little of the how.

Engineers tend to be more concerned with the what > how to translation with a little of the why.

Architects tend to deal in uncertainty.

Engineers tend to deal in certainty.

Architects tend to see impossible as an opportunity.

Engineers tend to see impossible as a constraint.

Architecture is more about omission, composition, generalisation and idealisation, than it is about inclusion, decomposition, specialisation or realisation.

Engineering is more about inclusion, decomposition, specialisation and realisation, than it is about omission, composition, generalisation or idealisation.

An Architect knows their job is done when there is nothing more to take away.

An Engineer knows their job is done when there is nothing more to add.

The most important tool for an Architect is their eraser.

The most important tool for an Engineer is their pencil.

Architects tend to think.

Engineers tend to do.

Architects tend to consider things from the perspective of what is yet to come.

Engineers tend to consider things from the perspective of what has been.

An Architect doesn’t get what they want until an Engineer Builds it.

An Engineer doesn’t know what to Build until an Architect specifies it.

An Architect doesn’t know why to Architect something until a Client specifies it.

An Engineer doesn’t know why to build something until an Architect tells specifies it.

To “do” Architecture you need breadth, to see the big picture.

To “do” Engineering you need depth, to see the big detail.

You Architect long term wins.

You Engineer quick wins.

You cannot cost justify Architecture.

You can cost justify Engineering.

The true value of Architecture is intangible.

The true value of Engineering is tangible.

Architects tend to like to find out when they are wrong.

Engineers tend to hate to find out when they were wrong.

Architects tend to be more about unleashing the potential of the mind to conceive new ideas (Creativity).

Engineers tend to be more about introducing change into relatively stable systems (Innovation)

Architecture is more about the lines (Relationships) than the boxes

Engineering is more about the boxes (Objects) that the lines.

 

Are you more of an Engineer or an Architect or are you both?

How much time are you allowed to spend “thinking” rather than “doing”?

If you were given the space to think more, would you be better at your job?

How many Architects does it take to change a light bulb?

(None - It’s an Engineering problem ;-)

Does your Enterprise use Architects and Engineers in an appropriate way?

Can you think of other ways that Architects and Engineers contrast each other?

 

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