Randy Stafford is a practicing software professional with 20 years' experience as a developer, analyst, architect, manager, consultant, and author/presenter.
Currently for Oracle's middleware development A-Team, he engages globally for proof-of-concept projects, architecture reviews, and production crises with diverse customer organizations, specializing in grid, SOA, performance, HA, and JEE/ORM work.
ARCHITECTS MUST CONTINUOUSLY develop and exercise "contextual sense"—because there is no one-size-fits-all solution to problems that may be widely diverse.
The incisive phrase "contextual sense" was coined, and its meaning insightfully described, by Eberhardt Rechtin in his 1991 book Systems Architecting: Creating & Building Complex Systems (Prentice Hall):
[The central ideas of the 'heuristic approach' to architecting complex systems] come from asking skilled architects what they do when confronted with highly complex problems. The skilled architect and designer would most likely answer, 'Just use common sense.' ... [A] better expression than 'common sense' is contextual sense—a knowledge of what is reasonable within a given context. Practicing architects through education, experience, and examples accumulate a considerable body of contextual sense by the time they're entrusted with solving a system-level problem—typically ...