Monday, July 24, 2006


Why most Enterprise Architects aren't getting paid enough...

Last week was a record for recruiters blowing up my phone attempting to recruit me for their wonderful EA positions. I received a total of eleven different solicitations, two of which were local and all of them paid more money than I currently make. Anyway, I figured I share why I transferred all of these calls to Mr. Dialtone...

Don't get it twisted as I do like money and like most folks wouldn't mind even more of it. I guess the main problem that I have is that my life is centered around more than just money. If you told me that I could work from home more, have more time off so I can spend time with the kids, or even told me about how wonderful your enterprise is in terms of charitable giving I would probably consider your value proposition. The simple fact is that I have already paid off my house and car and have absolutely zero debt along with managing to max out my 401K contributions, save for my kids college and most importantly can support charity that makes a different in the planet and therefore really ain't thinking about the need to solve for something I believe isn't busted.

Of course not a single recruiter even discussed more time off as most enterprises don't get the notion of work hard, play hard. Many enterprises love the monotone of continuity at the expense of a sense of urgency. I suspect that more enterprises would be successful in filling their ranks with top talent by compensated experienced individuals with more time off and increasing productivity than by simply increasing expenses in the form of salary.

The one thing that I have always thought about on the day some enterprise is stupid enough to make me CIO what I would do. I believe my first action would be to cut every single IT budget line item by 10% while avoiding rationalization. I suspect that this would actually save the enterprise 15% as it would remove the frivolous jockeying for position time wasting Powerpoint creating, bullshit that otherwise would occur.

I think we all have been around long enough to know that if one were dumb enough to listen to the rants and screeds of developers who constantly complain that there isn't enough time to do a high quality job and honored their wishes by granting everyone an additional 10% more time to deliver that quality wouldn't actually go up. We all know it would be consumed with more meetings with those who don't provide real value, additional documentation that doesn't aid in the creation of valuable working software and even more tracking of things that don't matter. The Agile Manifesto will never be a reality in most enterprises...

Getting back on track, the one thing that was absent from every single recruiter's conversation was the notion of team. Sure, every IT executive can babble for hours on their team-oriented culture. We all know that creating a team-oriented culture is one thing, but maintaining it so that it is sustainable is another.

Successful teams are heavily dependent upon folks working together towards a common goal yet many enterprises are creating risk in fracturing it by setting up reward structures that distiguishes a few disproportunately. Jack Welsh and the idiots over at GE (NOTE: I am a shareholder) came up with a good but otherwise sustainable idea that you should reward the top 10% of your enterprise disproportionately which has been mindlessly adopted by other executives.

For the record, these recruiters who keep calling me are not only ruining their own enterprise but are more importantly ruining any potential value proposition that enterprise architecture could bring. I am firm in my opinion that no individual should ever be recognized beyond their market value.

I wonder if I would think about the pitch from the recruiters if they told me that the head of IT promoted an open environment in which everyone can be creative? Those execs who crave off the charts financial reward will eventually leave anyway. If recruiters where to figure out why drives an individual beyond compensation then they could contribute more than their worth.

Many EAs love the challenge of the job and the opportunity to leverage their imagination which is always more enticing than money. Hey, fellow EA's, did I get it twisted...

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