This was the title to a brief article by Julia King in the August 23 print edition of Computerworld.Â It resonated with me immediately - even before I read the article.Â My engagements with major, global clients with software development challenges often come down to building an appropriate governance model.Â We quickly get down to:Â Who is going to be responsible and accountable for technical decisions for this project/product/service.Â For me, that always means naming the Chief Architect. Sometimes, one person steps up and says, "That's me."Â More often, whoever is the most senior person responsible for software development points to someone in his team and says. "That's him/her."Â Not frequently but all too often, I get a reaction along the lines of, "Do we really need to name one person? We don't really do that - hold our software staff accountable." In her article, Ms King quotes John McDermott of Xerox Corp as describing the role of chief architect as, "the hardest job in any IT organization."Â MCDermott goes on to reference the almost impossible scope of knowledge that a chief architect has.Â Worse still, this scope is ever increasing as new innovations have to be considered. Any CEO's, CIO's and HR departments reading this post MUST be aware that this role is one of the most important in their company.Â Appropriate selection, retention and succession planning strategies MUST be in place for these people and their teams.