A couple of months before the clock started ticking on Joe the Plumber's fifteen minutes of fame, Technology Edge blogger J Schwan used similarly named characters (Bob the Business Stakeholder, Pam the Project Manager, Art the Architect) to illustrate an important point about communication, cooperation, and the responsibilities that connect the proliferate roles in IT. The names may be corny, but the issue Schwan addresses -- and he does it quite well -- is as serious as what's happening to your 401k.
J Schwan describes what he calls an emerging trend in IT that has "people hiding behind roles on a project, which inevitably slows things down, increases confusion and, at the end of the day, causes projects to fail."
He goes on to say:
In many cases these roles are all necessary, that's reality, but in order for a project to succeed we need to...get back to the fundamental understanding that we are technologists. This means that regardless of the role that we are playing, it is our responsibility to understand the business problem, understand the system as a whole and understand the plan that's in place to solve that business problem.
Ah, the irony. Even as SOA and its various cousins work to break down the technological silos that made it nearly impossible to use words like "agility" and "efficiency" in the same sentence with "enterprise IT," it appears that the people who must work together to make IT fulfill its mission have been busy building human silos.
It is to the credit of members of the OTN community that amid the interchange of technical expertise the issue of human communication as a part of the IT process has not gone unnoticed. Communication, or the lack thereof, has provided blog fodder for a number of people. While they come at the issue from different angles, each offers sound advice. Consider Jeff Davies's new Architect's Dictionary series, a post and several presentations by Bex Huff, and a thoroughly justifiable semi-rant by Arup Nanda.
J Schwan takes a unique tack on the problem, and his post is worthwhile reading: The Technology Edge: Stop Hiding Behind Your Role and Get it Done