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Where are the architects in HR?

We normally think of architects from the world of construction. Less well known, but as important is the newer role of an architect in software delivery. Their role is to drive the design decisions that deliver most value as new IT systems are developed and implemented.

They hold the vision for the big picture, for making sure the system works as a whole, and is more than a set of non-compatible parts.

They make sure that the new works with the old, and that legacy systems and constraints are understood.

They help make the decisions about when to start again and when to build on what you have.

They are not the builders, but they understand how to build. They are not the project managers, but they work to make sure the right trade offs are made so that the programme delivers to time. They are not the user experience designers but they understand why this matters.

But who is the architect for HR? After all HR also designs and delivers complex human systems that must work as a whole and which need to integrate the old and the new.

It matters because we know when HR gets it right it can make our organisations great places to work where we get to deliver our best.

But we also know when it goes wrong, and HR delivers poorly "architected" systems, it creates blighted work places with bloated and poorly put together processes that sap peoples' energy, reduce engagement and reduce us to human doings not human beings.

We need a new role for the HR architect which brings the strong practices from software, to designing and delivering the crucial, but complex, HR systems that drive organisational success.

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