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An Architect, like a Project Manager, has two-way communication with the business. They both solve problems to decompose the large problem into small elements and then delegate that smaller ones to people who work with this: programmers, designers and others.

But with all this, Architect has more competencies in technical aspects.

Context is small startup project (7 or 10 persons as highly qualified technical teams).

If the job of an Architect and Project Manager is to break down the complexity with followed by delegation, and Architect can perform managerial functions then I don't understand why need a Project Manager? What is the exceptional value of a PM competent versus an Architect?

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    So is your question "If we have an architect, why do we need a project manager?". Have I understood that correctly? Maybe share some more context for people to understand where this question came from because, for many, the two roles are well defined, and separate. – Bogdan Aug 9 '20 at 13:58
  • @Bogdan thanks for your clarifying question. I added details to my Q. I mean roles of Architect and Project Manager in small (10 person with technical background) startup project. The question is, if an architect can perform managerial functions, then why hire, as it seems to me, an extra layer in the form of functions of PM? – timnavigate Aug 9 '20 at 15:42
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As already mentioned, the two roles - architect and project manager - are different and have different core responsibilities too. I will not go into details about what each role does, as there are plenty of resources available to describe the attributes of each. For example, just two such resources:

The problem in a small company is that you have a lot of things that need to be done, a lot of responsibilities to fill, but not enough people to take care of everything. So people need to wear multiple hats. You might be a developer who also works as a tester on someone else's tasks, or you might be a developer who does some business analyst work, or an architect that does project management work, or whatever combination you might think of. So people do their own job (basically what their core profession is), but also other things that are needed at any given time.

Depending on the company, the jobs being performed, the people, etc, this can work. If someone can fill in the project manager role, then that's just fine, you don't need a dedicated project manager. The problem is though, that this setup doesn't scale.

I mentioned people wear multiple hats. It's more than that. It's juggling the hats. Constantly having to change between the hats becomes tiring, error prone, and inefficient. You end up dropping some of the hats on the floor. At that point you need to hire more people to take on the job, and it's usually good to hire someone qualified for that position.

Your architect might be in charge of project management duties, but that's not their main job. So maybe they had enough. Maybe the managerial work is negatively affecting their architect work. They need help. They need a project manager.

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Different Roles with Different Core Responsibilities

Titles can mean different things in different organizations, but as a general rule:

  • Architect: Designs a system to accomplish a specific goal.
  • Project Manager: Controls a project along various dimensions such scope, schedule, and cost.

Like all roles, there are synergies and overlap, but they are not the same functional role. Even when you have a title like "Technical Project Manager," the architect and project management roles are generally distinct even if the same person performs both functions on a given project.

Note: Your mileage (along with your organizational culture and choice of dictionaries) may very well vary.

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  • Todd, I added context details to my question. My context is: the difference between an architect and a project manager in small highly qualified technical teams (7-10 person). – timnavigate Aug 9 '20 at 15:47
  • @timnavigate It doesn't change the answer. The roles are different; the person need not be. – Todd A. Jacobs Aug 9 '20 at 16:06

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