Wednesday, January 04, 2006


Enterprise Architecture and Annual Reviews

Many folks in corporate America will be going through the annual review cycle this month. Some will have the task of contributing to their own review. I wonder if folks in human resources have ever figured out that most technologists are lousy at self-evaluation?

Management will ultimately compare you to others but yet can't share the fact since this involves otherwise private information. The basic problem is one of navigation. It's difficult for any technologist to understand our position and even harder for us to move in the direction we want, so specifying next years objective simply makes our heads hurt.

The position we seek is often on a knowledge scale:

The position we seek can be measured in terms of social situations:

There are myriads of directions and coordinates which determine our place in the world. Not knowing about our exact position and those of the people we meet online, we are lost in communication. Are we in the position to teach or being taught? Without exact position coordinates we also don't know what direction to take to achieve a goal. What are we lacking? Some ideas, just funding, more work, a better looks? It's no wonder that we can't judge it and that we like it when others tell us that we are on the right way - even it is just a friendly tale.

Maybe the real problem is that the metrics for measurement are all wrong. One personal Darwinian belief may be that those who can't handle the wild pace deserve to crash. On the opposite end may be a "granny" driver who is as slow as molasses. The slow pace may reduce accidents, but makes a lot of people late for work and appointments. If you count only accidents, then the slow pace wins. If you count frustration, then it won't.

One theory says that you have to follow bell-curves. For example, 95% of all people think their children are bright. Consider one survey showed 75% of people surveyed believed they were a "better than average" driver. That clearly looks like a contradiction that implies that people are not objective on self-evaluation. However, an alternative explanation may be that their driving habits fit their own definition of "better driver". For example, somebody with fast reflexes may be able to drive like a maniac, irritating everyone else on the road. However, they may still have a slightly below-average accident rate.

Maybe we are all accidents waiting to happen...

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