All architects in DfE design and deliver services that provide outcomes for end users and the department. They are responsible for the technical quality of the products and services we deliver, thinking innovatively and bringing a broader perspective to service delivery.
In DfE, we have a broad mix of enterprise, solution, technical, data and specialist architects. We sometimes have tech leads that have architecture responsibilities. There are lots of different roles and teams that ‘do’ architecture in one way or another, across a number of business areas.
Here are some of the more common roles:
Enterprise architects generally work across the DfE at a strategic level, to translate business strategy into change and technical delivery.
Their responsibilities typically include:
- establishing broad architectural principles, policies and standards
- assuring technology decisions are aligned to architecture and technical strategies
- ownership of architecture strategy and roadmaps for the organisation, including ‘as-is’ and ‘to-be’ transitional states
- understanding DfE’s ecosystem and its inter-dependencies
Read more about the role of an enterprise architect in DfE.
Solution Architects typically work within delivery teams to find the best use of data, applications and technology for the design and delivery of services and products. Whilst also helping to deliver business change and achieving organisational objectives.
Solution Architects own the overall technical vision for a solution or set of solutions, or within a particular domain. They work within service delivery teams to assure the implementation and delivery of those solutions.
Read more about the role of a solution architect in DfE.
Technical Architects are generally embedded within a multi-disciplinary team (or across multiple teams), working end-to-end to help to design and implement technical solutions. They are often specialists or technical subject matter experts in one or more disciplines (e.g. software development, data, security, DevOps). They tend to work in continuous delivery environments and are comfortable with turning business problems into technical design. They tend to be from a software development or engineering background and are comfortable using technical toolsets and / or code.
Technical Architects currently work in portfolios and service lines within DfE, such as those found in Teacher Services or Children and Families, for example. This role is aligned to the Technical Architect job family of the GOV.UK DDaT Capability Framework.
Read more about the role of a technical architect in DfE.
Data architects set the vision for DfE’s use of data, through data design, to meet business needs. They design and build data models to fulfil the strategic data needs of the business, as defined by the Chief Data Architect.
For more information, have a look at the data architecture and governance division pages.
Security architects design, build and assure the security of solutions. In DfE, they will create and designs security for a system or service, maintain security documentation and develops architecture patterns and secure approaches to new technologies. Security architects:
- recommend security controls and identify solutions that support a business objective
- provide specialist advice and recommend approaches across teams and various stakeholders
- communicate widely with other stakeholders
- advise on important security-related technologies and assess the risk associated with proposed changes
- inspire and influence others to execute security principles
We also have some Specialist Technical Architects (focused on things like infrastructure or networks, for example), who work closely with service delivery teams and the other parts of the department to help achieve our goals.
To keep everything running smoothly, we have a small profession team, comprising the Head of Profession, an architecture profession manager and some professional support. Have a look at our architecture profession page for more information.
The role of an architect through the delivery lifecycle
Here are some questions and focus areas architects might have at different stages of the delivery lifecycle:
Planning / inception / pre-discovery
- Questions - What is the problem space? Is there a problem to solve?
- Focus - Problem framing, stakeholder mapping, input to business case
- Questions - What is the problem? How big is it? Can we solve it?
- Focus - Problem statement, goals and drivers, conceptual views, business/technical capability mapping, early option thinking
- Questions - What are our riskiest assumptions? How can we release value early?
- Focus - Solution prototyping, capability / service / application views, data architecture, design assumptions and constraints, options considered / tested
- Questions - What should we build first and is it adding value?
- Focus - Moving from high to low-level design (applications, data, integration, hosting, security), infrastructure / network topology, disaster recovery, logging, auditing, error handling, managing the service and support, recording and adjusting architecture / design decisions
- Questions - How can we continually add value to the service?
- Focus - Continual improvement, relationships with suppliers, learning / future recommendations
Responsibilities of an architect
Here are some examples of the expected responsibilities of an architect at different levels:
|G6 Lead Architect||G7 Senior Architect||SEO Architect|
|Delivery||Across one or more portfolios or business domains||Across a programme or group of projects, aligned to a portfolio or domain||Across one or a small group of projects, aligned to a portfolio or domain|
|Assurance||Review of business cases, establish in-line assurance mechanisms, reviewing submissions for assurance, technical service assessment, design assurance of major/critical programmes||Establish/support assurance mechanisms, assurance submissions, technical service assessment, design assurance of projects and programmes||Participate in assurance mechanisms, technical service assessment, design assurance of projects|
|Strategies||Own one or more technology strategies and roadmaps||+ One or more technology strategies and roadmaps|
|Thought leadership||Write thematic papers to influence, lead community discussions||+ Write thematic papers to influence, lead community discussions|
|Line management||Team plans and management, workforce management||+ Management and coaching of colleagues|
|Corporate||Budget delegation, leading cross-cutting work, mentoring, recruitment, xGovernment collaboration||+ Cross-cutting work (actively involved), mentoring, recruitment, xGovernment collaboration||+ Recruitment, xGovernment collaboration|
(+ indicates a stretch goal)
Architects (or those aspiring to be architects) should consider:
- Which level am I currently operating at?
- What else could / should I do?
- How can I create space to cover?
- What support do I need?
Have a look at our capability framework page for more information.