Friday Jan 11, 2013

Soft Skills, Leadership, and now Empathy

A recent post by @mikejwalker on a new Soft Skills course by Architecting the Enterprise rightly points out the importance of soft skills for the EA discipline. I think this is a great addition to the profession and shows formal recognition of the importance of soft skills in the industry.

The EA positions I've seen in companies are generally at a 1st or 2nd line management grades. Corporations seem to recognize at some level the need for a "higher stature" for the EA professional. The leadership skills take more cultivation than just updating the HR records, however. It takes a skillful balance of things perhaps even learned outside the scope of the office such as running a youth organization or planning other non-profit events. Corporations are wise to invest in leadership training - often only slated for management - for EA professionals. 

The EA profession is both strategic and change-oriented impacting people far more than the bucket of bolts on your data center floor. Changing behaviors in humans is at the core of the discipline. 

The above was written last week. This week @nickmalik rightly opines on the importance of empathy EAs. I only scanned this article (which deserves a good read by the fire with my favorite scotch). He's definitely onto something here...

Bottom line - soft skills are becoming increasingly important!!! So, fellow EA professional, what do you do to hone your soft skills? Who do you draw upon for leadership lessons?

Tuesday Jan 08, 2013

TOGAF Study Help - iPhone to the Rescue (perhaps)

TOGAF study help?!?! There is an app for that!

There is a app out on the iTunes store that seems like a possible study guide.  Have not used it and don't have a review of it yet, but thought it is intersting enough to point out.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/toolkit4togaf/id554098904?mt=8

p.s. Happy New Year Everyone!

 

Friday Jan 04, 2013

RACI Matrices, EA Charters, and Surgical Suites

In another moment of (over) thinking enterprise architecture, I was comparing the surgical suite to a project team. I'll define a team as a committee, or other ad-hoc group of individuals engaged in a particular task. While the surgical team has many members, they all play a specific role. And some, such as medical students, may be spectators viewing from above. In the surgical suite, folks know their roles. Students in the gallery know they are to take notes and not scrub in. Those perform procedures are not scribbling in their notebooks either. Everyone knows their part - before going into the surgery.

A common tool used within organizations to delineate roles and responsibilities is the RACI matrix. It simply describes the subject area along with levels of responsibility for the particular subject mapped to an organization unit, committee, or individual. While individuals may agree or disagree with the contents of the RACI matrix, at least its explicit and people can collaborate around it.

Like RACI matrices,  EA charters provide a level of clarity for EA programs in terms of the services they provide and what they don't provide. Composing a RACI matrix helps identify the various roles interacting with an EA program and who weighs in at what level for a particular concern. 

For your EA program, do you have a formal charter? Does it include a RACI matrix? How do you delineate responsibilities in a centralized or federated EA environment? 

 

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Art, Artifacts, and Best Practices for Enterprise Architects

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