In practice, there is of course an overlap between Architecture and Engineering. The overlap may be small or may be large depending on the problem in hand. This tends to decide whether one person is required to perform both roles or if two people who specialise in each are required.

In this day and age, thinking about things seems to be viewed as a very bad thing as no discernible progress is being made. It should be noted that all the major advancements since time began have come from people thinking about things rather than doing - at least initially. This is not to say that everyone should sit around thinking about things and not doing anything. Doing things informs thinking and thinking informs doing. This is the yin and yang where balance must be achieved for best results and progress. No one ever suggested that people should stop doing things, but it is common for people to suggest that people should stop thinking about things “Just do it!” - not explicitly because when you say it explicitly, as I have just done, it sounds ludicrous in the extreme, but in practice, in life, in the day to day run of things, thinking is routinely put on the back burner as the next urgent (but probably unimportant) thing becomes the focus.

One of the differences between doing and thinking is that doing things has many limitations. Thinking has no literally no limitations. It is hardly surprising therefore that innovation and progress comes more from thinking than doing, albeit you do not see the fruits until something is built. For example, the fantastic smartphones we have today did not come from doing things, they can from thinking about what could be done. Thinking created the catalyst and doing made it happen. They had to be envisaged first. In that way, engineering places limitations on architecting however, architecting pushes those limitations and boundaries and thereby advances Engineering.


Architecture is more of an art.

Engineering is more of a science.

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 are more concerned with the Why > What translation with a little of the How.

Engineers are more concerned with the What > How to translation with a little of the Why.

Architects deal in uncertainty.

Engineers deal in certainty.

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 his job is done when there is nothing more to take away.

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

The most important tool for an Architect is his eraser.

The most important tool for an Engineer is his 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 he wants until an Engineer Builds it for him.

An Engineer doesn’t know What to Build until an Architect tells him.

An Architect doesn’t know Why to Architect something until a Client tells him.

An Engineer doesn’t know Why to build something until an Architect tells him.

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.

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

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



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?


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