In our last blog post, we discussed why enterprises cannot be architected but must be grown. We argued that the role of Enterprise Architects must change from purely engineering to engineering & business & social.
As an EA: establish a framework for growth. Plant the seeds. Do some weeding and fertilizing now and then. With a bit of luck, you will have a nice, healthy, growing enterprise a few years down the road. EA succeeds when enterprises are treated as complex systems that are constantly changing and adapting.
This week we want to discuss the skills required for this new kind of Enterprise Architects:
1. Be curious about the business
Gardener-like EAs are curious people. Like a gardener passionate about his garden, they must be passionate for the business of their companies. They need the ability to look beyond traditional business concepts and drill to the core of a given concept. True curiosity about the often fascinating things the business does is mandatory to create the business architecture maps. Asking the right questions helps business people to understand their own problems better. Keep asking the “why” question until the business people become aware of the core of their business/IT demands. Ask the “why” question way more often than you use to do today. Exciting things gonna happen, guaranteed!
2. Train your social skills
Vanguard EAs practitioners use their strong interpersonal skills to consult their business stakeholders to create innovative business solutions. They must be able to work with a wide variety of stakeholders that range from business executives to business analysts and IT architects. They must train hard to speak the language of the business to mediate between different viewpoints and stakeholders. They need to gain trust of their stakeholders quickly. Trust is the hard currency of all IT initiatives. It is the key to successful communication with stakeholders. You need trustful social connections with mayor stakeholders to enforce your architectural decisions.
3. Keep an overview of the core concepts of key technologies
Technologies emerge at a breath-taking pace these days. EAs must be able to understand the core concepts of new technologies quickly. They can provide tremendous value to their customers if they translate what the new technologies mean for existing or new business capabilities and processes. Thus they will be treated as a valuable enabler by the business people rather than a blocker.
4. Apply your strong analytical skills
Vanguard EAs need strong capabilities in bringing complex issues to the point. They must keep a structured overview of the major structures of business capabilities, applications, and technologies. They must be able to keep things simple, making lives of executives deciding in steering boards as simple as possible.