AT#31: Soft Factors of Architecture – Part 3: Communication

AT#31: Soft Factors of Architecture – Part 3: Communication

Enterprise Architecture (EA) often focuses primarily on the analytical modeling aspects and this is, of course, an important part of the work. However, practice shows that EA is much more about communication. You simply need to elicit the wisdom of business people to create your architecture maps. Enterprise Architects, and IT-people in general, however, are often not educated in communication skills like asking the right questions and listening intently. Educated at technical universities most of them have been trained to engineer highly sophisticated technical solutions but not so much in the soft skills.

The following communication skills are mandatory for any successful Enterprise Architect:

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AT#30: Soft Factors of Architecture – Part 2: Unveiling

AT#30: Soft Factors of Architecture – Part 2: Unveiling

Much has been written about the human factors in the IT-business. In his renowned book “Peopleware” (1987), Tom De Marco describes typical social behavior during high-pressure IT-projects: most of the time attendees of meetings discussing complex topics do not get the whole point but are ashamed to admit that they do not understand an issue. They simply do not say ‘Sorry, but I don’t have a clue what the bullshit-bingo on your slides is all about’. This typical behavior tends to make things even more complex. Thus today’s culture of IT-projects almost forces us to veil things. Veiling communication, however, leads to unsatisfactory IT-solutions. Read More

AT#29: Soft Factors of Architecture – Part 1: Trust

AT#29: Soft Factors of Architecture – Part 1: Trust

The stake of Business- and Enteprise Architecture is to ensure that the overall IT landscape and its solutions stay maintainable instead of increasing complexity with each project. Architects, usually without formal authority over other persons working in the projects, have to find soft ways to drive their stake,  and this is always the hardest part of the job. 

“In Enterprise Architecture roles, emotional intelligence (EQ) accounts for more than 90% of a person’s performance and success.”
[Gartner Group]

I have been working in the field of Enterprise Architecture (EA) for almost 12 years now. Over these years I have seen many unsuccessful EA initiatives. Half of the large IT transformation projects I worked in failed to a large degree due to insufficient influence of the architecture team. EAs often simply did not have the “right”social/soft skills.

Motivated by this observation I want to start a series of posts that deal with the “soft factors” of architecture, which are IMHO way more relevant than the analytical/technical bias prevalent in the field of EA. Today’s part 1 explains why building trust should be prio 1 for EAs.

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