Monday, August 28, 2006


Enterprise Architecture and Mistakes I have made in my own career

Figured that for those who follow, they hopefully won't make the same mistakes I have..

An architect, whom I have grown to respect said something intriguing to me in hopes of cheering me up and bringing me out of my feeling of being burnt out. He said James, you are one of the most credible architects in the entire company. He went on and elaborated that I am credible because I not only acknowledge my limitations but I openly declare them. Transparency breeds credibility. An architect can trust me because they know I will tell them exactly what I know and what I don't. I never pretend to represent an agenda and give suboptimal information simply because of my role. I want to be successful and more importantly want others to be successful.

Saying I don't know gains credibility amongst the technical ranks but has otherwise hurt my career as those ladder climbers from above have throughout their career said they know when they really don't. I recently had a conversation with noted industry analyst Brenda Michelson regarding the notion of talent management within IT. Hopefully, I can persuade her as she does case studies on other Fortune enterprises to ask IT executives if they permit folks to be transparent in terms of their strengths and weaknesses. Maybe, she should take it beyond inquiry of just permitting but see which enterprises actually encourage it.

I also had a conversation last week with Lyn Robinson of the Burton Group regarding the notion of EA maturity models. I am of the belief that to reach the highest levels of maturity, transparency is not just something that happens but is actively encouraged top-down.

Many folks may know that I rarely watch TV. I don't have cable nor satellite. When I do watch TV, it is only PBS. I suspect many of the top executives watch Survivor, where they learn tactics of being passive/aggressive to fit the moodswing of the minute. It is interesting how at one moment, the folks on Survivor are the best of buddies and at the next, they are backstabbing each other. See what watching too much TV does to IT executives?

In the meantime, I guess I should spend some time this week noodling whether I want to accelerate my career and get to the next tier by being less transparent or whether my personal integrity is for sale at any price...

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