The naked architect

I’m not thinking of Jamie Oliver and the naked chef, but instead H.C. Andersens classic story.

Today, lots of people in the industry put up the title Architect on their business card or profile. The problem with this approach from some architects, is my opinon threefold.

  1. They can’t define what they mean with Architecture and the benefits with it.
  2. They don’t have a described method of how to do Architecture, instead it is ad-hoc work and random activities.
  3. They only know architecture theory, but not how to apply it in the in the real world by using prior art and examples.

So when recruiting or hiring an Enterprise Architect, make sure his not naked, but have the right outfit for the job. 

If you are an Enterprise architect you should be able to:

  • Define what architecture is for you and the benefits you get from it
  • Describe the method you to make architecture work, according to above description of architecture and benefits
  • Be able to show how to apply this in real world examples

The below image is from an interview for a client in Sweden where I showed how to make a high level enterprise architecture (organisation, process, information, IT) in their type of business in 45 minutes. 




Learning new skills at work

Learning how to do the work, when you already is on the job is rather common, but not always recommended as two sailors found out a while ago.

The question is how to learn how to do the work on the job, while keeping the expectations on the right level. Especially if you are the only person in this role, you haven’t done it before and there are no methods or instructions to learn from. You more or less have a mission impossible situation if the expectations are to deliver full, or near full performance from day one. 

How can we mitigate these situations in before they happen? 

With a certification, the person at least has a basic knowledge of what to do, compared to a person without any formal training. If you do ocean sailing, at least get a basic sailing course before leaving the harbour.  Don’t do scuba diving on your own without a dive certificate. 

As a project manager, be familiar with at least one project management meted. As a business analyst, learn methods and business that are relevant for your assignment before you start. As an Enterprise Architect, learn a method and how to apply the framework in real life.

The best way to mitigate the risks is to be part of a team, so that you don’t have the full responsibility as a rookie, even if you learned the basics before. If you don’t have this possibility, at least have an experienced colleague to call when, not if, something goes wrong.

Navigare necesse est

No money - lights out

Chris advocates for sloth, avoiding taking care of what they already have. But when there is no money to take care of what they have, soon the lights are out and all stores have to close.