Friday, June 02, 2006


A Day in the Life of James McGovern

I normally don't blog about work but figured I would share with the blogosphere what an enterprise architect does as part of their work day...

Yesterday, the day begin for me around 8:15am where I spent time catching up on all the emails that I still haven't responded to. One would think that undercommunication within an enterprise is a problem but over-communication is an even bigger problem that EA's need to start solving for.

One of the forms of paperwork that I didn't take care of was all the stuff related to bringing in a new employee. Our department intern who is a student at Trinity College started yesterday but I had noted on my calendar that he was to start several weeks later. This minor clerical error on my part caused me to run around frantic attempting to find a cubicle (we are in a space crunch), submit paperwork for him to get a phone on his desk, and all the information security related paperwork required to get a network ID.

One of the problems that tends to occur in large environments is that you can get overloaded very easily and find justification for bringing on new help. The problem though is when you are overloaded you still have to find time to transition things to new employees of which I realize that I have gotten off to a bad start. Hopefully today will be much better.

Later in the day, I met with several other architects within our enterprise to talk about the human aspects of EA and how we could improve ourselves and deliver better value. Constant reflection and adjustment is a core principle (aka people over process) in our culture and we spent time discussing in detail exactly what we believe to be working for us, what areas we need to improve on and most importantly what we wanted IT leadership to do in order to assist us in this undertaking. Throughout this discussion with peers, we realized that while we are all of the same technical discipline, we are by no means pluggable units or the infamous FTE slots.

Anyway, we have a unique methodology for capturing feedback that we haven't ran across elsewhere and would love to share this with any industry analyst firm that would be game to publish a 100% on the record case study on our approach to the human aspects of EA.

The afternoon was spent with Forrester analyst Alex Cullen. He came down to visit us as he is working on doing several case studies on our enterprise architecture practices. The interesting thing that he was initially concerned about was when our favorite media relations person showed up that she would attempt to censor the conversation. His perspective on this surely changed by the end of the day as he realized he heard both good and bad regarding our practices. The key takeway in which I hope comes across in the case study once he writes it up is that we have a pretty transparent interaction within our organization, that are executives are human (vs talking figureheads) and that the hard part of EA is not only knowing what is busted but having deliberate roadmaps and practices to address them is powerful.

Alex had the opportunity to talk with several IT executives in our organization and I think that I actually learned more about what I need to do in order to improve things in my area of responsibility than I would have otherwise learned based on the usual face-to-face conversations. Industry analysts have a way of asking questions that we may not have otherwise thought of.

In the past, we have done case studies with Forrester, Celent, Burton Group and Zapthink. We also have a planned case study coming up with Seybold. If there are other analyst firms that are interested in a honest dialog with a large enterprise is willing to write it up with us 100% on the record and most importantly willing to do it face-to-face (none of this phone interview stuff), you are welcome to ping me to set up a time to discuss.

Anyway, today I think I will be spending time taking swift deliberate actions on things that I learned were deficient that I otherwise wouldn't have learned about...

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