I’ve been working in an IT company for 7 years (and I have a 14+ total work experience). About 2 years ago I was promoted to the solution architect's office. In my company a solution architect is a very senior role that requires both strong experience and solid competencies: at least 10 years work experience in IT, at least 2 years work experience in the company, competencies of skilled senior developer, senior team leader, knowledge in system administration, project management, strong abilities in functional analysis and documentation, good in relation with customers, etc.
My job can be described in this way: a manager arrives with a request from a customer for a new project. We meet the customer, we collect requirements, we write the technical section of the offer that the manager presents to the customer. If the customer accepts the offer, we prepare a detailed document (or a series of documents) to describe every single technical aspect that developers should know to implement the solution for the customer (the document contains language(s) to be used, framework(s), software required and the architecture, both logical and physical, how to interact with customer/third party services, roadmaps, milestones, a complete functional analysis for the technical aspects, etc. - documents length and depth depend on expected elapsed for the project: a 4 years project could have 1500+ documentation pages, a 2 week projects no more than 15-20 pages). When these documents are completed we send them to the managers and they present these to the development team(s) involved, during the project kick off meeting. According to the expected elapsed of the project, the development team has a period during which can ask for clarifications/explanations for the documents. After this our job is completed and we move on to the next project.
We do not have direct (in person) or indirect (mail/phone/chat) contacts with developers (we are even in a different office than them): all interactions are through managers.
During last year HR and some managers informed us of a relative high number of complaints from junior and middle level developers about our way of work: in particular they say that we “impose from above our solutions” and they “are mere performers/monkeys typing on the keyboard”. No complaints from senior developers (and when I was a senior developer I really appreciated the fact that we only need to build the project software architecture and then start the fun part: write code).
We were asked to think of suggestions to better present our work and improve their perception of us. I have really few ideas: what do you suggest?