Thursday, February 02, 2006
Thoughts on Agile Enterprise Architecture
It goes on to state that it must watch for clues to each employee's natural talents and then position and develop each employee so that his or her talents are transformed into bonafide strengths. By changing the way it selects, measures, develops and channels the careers of its people, it can truly become world-class. The principles taught in this book align very nicely with agile enterprise architecture but not enterprise architecture as traditionally discussed.
Traditional enterprise architecture focuses in on the process and controls while agile enterprise architecture focuses on the people and governance (measuring behavior). Like this book, agile enterprise architecture states that most organization's basic assumptions about people are wrong. If the enterprise is operating off flawed assumptions, then enterprise architecture can never realize its true value. The two flaws in thinking are:
- Each person can learn to be competent in almost anything.
- Each person's greatest room for growth is in his or her areas of greatest weakness
The authors go on to show how an enterprise can test these assumptions:
- Your organization focuses the performance of its employees by legislating work style. This means a heavy emphasis on work rules, policies, procedures and competencies.
- Your organization spends most of its training time and money on trying to plug the gaps in employee's skills or competencies. It calls these gaps "areas of opportunity." Your individual development plan, if you have one, is built around your "areas of opportunity" aka your weaknesses.
- Your organization promotes people based on the skills or experiences they have acquired. After all, if everyone can learn to be competent in almost anything, those who have learned the most must be the most valuable. Thus, by design, your organization gives the most prestige, the most respect, and the highest salaries to the most experienced well-rounded people
To break out of this weakness spiral, you must change your assumptions about people. Start with the right assumptions and everything else that follows from them will be right. These are the two assumptions that guide the world's best managers:
- Each person's talents are enduring and unique
- Each person's greatest room for growth is in the areas of his or her greatest strength
When I apply this particular book to myself and think about I am at the top of my game when it comes to understanding the open source movement, enterprise architecture and agile software development approaches these are the areas in which I can get even stronger. Likewise, you have probably figured out that I am not the sensitive type and that it would be pretty much a waste of time for me to think that I can improve. The best I could ever hope for is in being mediocre in the sensitivity camp.
I have been noodling what my next book project will be (if my significant other gives me permission) and was thinking about creating a roadmap on how folks who practice enterprise architecture can start thinking about aligning their IT shops along the lines of utilizing strengths.
The one thing that I still have some homework to do is how to incorporate this notion into an Elevator Pitch. I have ordered a couple of copies for some peers at work whom I know will enjoy reading it. I encourage other enterprise architects who desire to bring agility to the workplace to also consider reading this wonderful tome of wisdom...