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Job titles in an Agile company

August 17, 2015
Stefan HöhnStefan HöhnProduct Owner / Agile Architecture

Around two years ago, I moved to a new company, AOE, which has almost tripled in size within the last few years. As we are an Agile organization, we asked ourselves whether we needed titles or not. We came to the conclusion that we don’t like titles, but that for some of us it makes sense to have business cards. And we didn’t want the cards to hold only the name, but also let the recipient know what area the person is working at. So of course I started thinking what my area would be.

Well, it became a bit complicated because I am experienced in Agile methodologies (which I coach) and my second sweet spot is development and architecture. Two completely different areas, I thought, and I didn’t intend to write both onto the business card, i.e. “Agile Methodology, Architecture and Development”. I thought that was kind of too “extravagant” and “boastful” and also that it is just too long and not catchy enough. After a few days one of my colleagues (actually it was my CEO) proposed “Why don’t you just call it ‘Agile Architecture’”?

In the beginning, I wasn’t too sure, but in the meantime I really love it because it has many meanings if you think about it:

  1. It is not a title, but describes an area I am capable of working in
  2. It shows that I am aware of Agile stuff
  3. It shows that I know something about architecture
  4. It makes people curious about architecture management in an Agile environment. Something that is often questioned by people in the traditional world because they think that agilists don’t really care about architecture too much
  5. It also describes something in a figurative way that I wasn’t too sure about at first: I not only work as an Agile coach in the development area but I also help form our new Agile organization. That’s also an Agile architecture but in a social sense

So, sometimes an idea needs to mature until you detect the real meaning behind it.

So here is Triple-A-Stefan: Me working at Agile Architectures at AOE!