By Scott Andersen

Two new ethical questions for architects.

The first question is for architects that create content to be consumed by organizations and other architects in the production of a solution for the first architects company. IE a request for information and or proposal sent to another company. All of this links to articles published on my blog and on Linkedin for those wondering where the questions came from.

Question 1: Requirements creator

  • How much information should you give?
  • Do you have a solution in mind?
  • Do you have a pre-selected vendor in mind and are shopping for price?
  • Do you have clear evaluation criteria?

Ah the dreaded questions. Do you have to answer these? No. In reality most requests for information are extremely vague on purpose. You shouldn’t send out an RFI if you have a solution in mind. That is more to gather information and find out who knows what. The other interesting question is should you have one author for the entire document or multiple authors. The ethical questions here for architects are below.

  1. What is the responsibility of an organizational architect when it comes to the information sent to vendors for response?
  2. Are they responsible for the message received?
  3. Should they carefully pick the vendors and only send it to those that have solutions they are interested in?
  4. If a vendor sends in a question should you refer back to the original document or answer the question?
  5. Is it good to have one author respond to questions or multiple? If multiple responses are made to the questions asked should you have the original author edit them into a single voice?

Question 2: Answer readers

Not the people asking questions. That is a simple we understand, we need clarification and a balancing act instead let’s talk about who reads the answers and how do they react.

Ethical questions below:

  1. Should you read for intent?
  2. What if the document (response) had multiple authors? Can you read for overall intent? Should you consider multiple-voices = multiple intents?
  3. If you can ask for clarification should you? Given that fairness entails any clarification be shared with every vendor should you ask for clarification?
  4. What is the responsibility of a responding architect as far as interpreting what has been provided to them by the asking company?
    1. Should you guess?
    2. Is it ok to assume?

It is an interesting problem. One that while on the edges of ethics. You can often as the Architect producing the document have a solution in mind. As the architect responding do you deserve a fair shake?

There are more ethical questions to come!


IASA Fellow