Something under a year ago I joined a growth-stage startup as Head of Architecture, to bring a bit of higher-level and longer-term thinking to our software engineering work. I think it’s going well, the CTO and the team seem to think so too, but how can we measure that?
From the perspective of “is this going well for the company”, it seems like many of the things we do as “architecture” are indirectly related to the outcomes - so I could ask something like “did we become more efficient as a software engineering team” and have an answer that doesn’t necessarily tell me anything about software architecture. Or they are too long term: “did you do that thing you said we should do 12 months ago” can be answered ‘yes’ for bad reasons and ‘no’ for good ones.
There are also things you can measure but don’t want to measure and certainly don’t want to optimise for: “how many meetings between stakeholders and engineers were there” or “did you produce any diagrams”.
Then from the personal perspective, there’s the usual leadership measurement problem that I only do some of the delivery work resulting from my decisions or recommendations.
Have you seen a software engineering team where software architecture worked well, and if so how do you know that it worked well?