Sunday, July 22, 2007


Thoughts on Software Advisory Boards

While I commented on the lack of value when it comes to having IT executives on your advisory board, maybe it is time to critique boards in general. Boards are filled with founders, and don’t often draw on a vast pool of experience that exists outside the company. So they end up as giant rubber stamps or petulant micromanagers.

The first step in creating a successful business is to make sure a company has the right roles and that they are filled with the right people and this isn't limited to employees. On a macro level the advisory board stays outside the day-to-day company operations and provide selected expertise when needed. Your advisory board has to be more about expertise and less about sales leads.

Software vendors would be well served by thinking of enterprise architects as product managers. They are a company’s think tank, architects of its design, guardians of its focus and cheerleaders. They also must be a company’s conscience, using clear eyes to bring the truth, both good and bad to the forefront.

A company doesn’t need a passionate businessperson at the helm, a robust and diverse board, and a talented executive corporate team to survive. Companies survive well enough without them all the time. What they fail to do is thrive.

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