Thursday, September 07, 2006


Recruiting Enterprise Architects

So far this week, I have gotten four different calls from recruiters which is indicative of a good job market. The problem is that the jobs they are pitching are about as interesting as watching paint dry...

Why would I want to take another job in my own vertical? The same problems exist regardless of company. The compensation will be competitive so I won't make any more money and I probably will be stifled in terms of cultural practices.

So why aren't recruiters or even the folks in the venture capital community attempting to recruit Enterprise Architects for better jobs such as CTOs of Internet Startups? The characteristics of working on large dollar projects and our thought process may be one characteristic that most folks in startups don't have. While I acknowledge that many EAs are into ceremonial chock-a-block eye candy Powerpoint that lacks substance many of us are more technical than you give us credit for.

I would especially love to know why we aren't being recruited for top spots in industry analyst firms? The characteristics of analysts and folks in large enterprises align very well.

Why can't recruiters provide a sensible answer to questions such as how many projects within your enterprise have been allowed to fail this year? If the answer is zero, this tells me that either your enterprise isn't trying hard enough to be number one in your industry and/or your CIO and IT management team lacks real leadership.

I am sick and tired of the word innovation. It has been abused even moreso in enterprises that the word agile. Yes, I get that IT executives practice management by magazine and need to sound like they are doing something meaningful. Folks will pretend that IT is all of a sudden a partner but somehow the work hasn't really changed for the masses. I also understand that most CIOs really want to bring innovation to their enterprises but are dealing with dozens of legacy issues that are more pressing. Maybe you could tell me how your CIOs hope to solve legacy issues before talking to me about IT/Business alignment marketecture?

I am not really interested in the current culture of your enterprise. I am interested in understanding the potential of breaking the cycle. If I have to work within constraints then anything I proposed to you will be constrained. I would be interested in knowing if you can really tell the difference between management and leadership? I suspect your culture allows IT management to refer to themselves as leaders when they emphatically are not!

Architects that are worth their salt are good at observing patterns. One pattern that is apparent is that current IT management in many enterprises are a day late and a dollar short in terms of cycles and are lagging the thought leaders their enterprise already has. So as to not lose the race, they instead implement a culture where opinion leadership (alignment and influence are measured) is more important than thought leadership (innovation and distinction of solution against competitors are measrured). Don't leverage your thought leaders, surpress them instead. I bet this will get you a promotion in the short-term at the expense of having a truly great enterprise.

Maybe if you stop reading the garbage that CIO magazine publishes on IT/Business alignment and realize that your focus should shift to focusing on aligning IT Management with IT technologists in terms of creating a language that both parties can understand that this may have a better return. I am happy for you that you can now sound intelligent to the business, but if folks in IT don't understand your message you are doomed to fail...

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