In her series, “The unexpected journey of a Lead System Architect” our colleague Alona will tell you about her journey to become a Pega Lead System Architect. Previously, she told you about how to solve your first Pega challenges. In this installment, she will tell you about her four professional rituals as a Senior System Architect (SSA).  

”Excellence is not a Skill. It is an Attitude.”

Ralph Marston

Have you ever found yourself in an unusual, almost scary, place, but instead of feeling afraid you were overwhelmed with a sense of excitement and adventure? That is exactly the place I found myself in when I started working for my second employer after I spent 11 years working for my first one. 

Truth be told, it doesn’t really matter if you feel exactly like that while starting your new engagement or role. What matters the most, is a set of professional rituals to maintain your productivity and growth. To ensure that, here are 4 rituals from my Senior System Architect set. 

Leverage your past experience 

When I joined my new Pega project, it turned out my team needed to cover the application with UI tests (due to project compliances). In just 2 weeks of exploration and learning of TypeScript based Test-framework, I was well-equipped to create UI-test for Pega. After sharing my findings with the team, and in two weeks of team effort, we could proudly say that our application was Compliant. And it has been that way ever since. Another thing that remained the same, until the end of the project, my teammates came to me for advice on test development. 

Perhaps you also have prior software development experience in another language? Or supposedly you used another technology for your school or personal projects? Do not hesitate to use all of your previous technical knowledge in your team. Be brave to craft your unique role in your team based on what you can contribute. 

Be proactive 

It’s essential for you and your team to acquire business knowledge around the software you’re building. This is a strong foundation for your feature architectural decisions. Also, it can be a solid base for guiding the business to take the right decision 

Start small, find out what business value stands behind your User Story. Knowledge of how exactly it adds value and who are the people who benefit from it will definitely put you at an advantage in making more suitable development decisions. 

Another important thing you should keep in mind: we are all human beings, and sometimes some things just slip from our attention. Therefore, anyone in the team might fail to consider a perspective, when providing a requirement or design. Consequently, when you notice that there might be a better solution, do not hesitate to challenge your lead or business with additional questions. As a result, they might provide you with an explanation why the described approach is favourable or change. Either way, such discussions contribute greatly to the final project value. 

Meet deadlines 

While it is important to be agile, encouraging stakeholders to make the best decisions, do not forget to keep deadlines in mind. They are often driven by business milestones. So, missing too many deadlines might have a severe impact on your relationship with important stakeholders.  

I think of these deadlines as the contract between the team and the business. Hence, delivering on your commitments is showing the business your dedication and professionalism. Furthermore, it almost certainly is going to secure a strong bond of trust between you and the business 

Stay Up to Date 

Until now, knowing the latest Pega features can save me up to half a day of development. Staying up to date with the latest releases is part of the daily life of an SSA. Do not undermine new Pega Academy courses and make sure you always have the latest badges. This is the most beautiful way of showing your customers that you value them. 

And last but not least, enjoy the ride. Life without joy is boring, so embrace it. Come back next time to learn more about how overloading your schedule with tasks stands in the way of your success and happiness at work.  

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