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The top 10 enterprise architecture blunders



Alex Handy
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September 25, 2009 —  (Page 1 of 2)
Even if your enterprise architect knows standards, code and the best practices better than he knows his own family, Gartner Research warns that he still may be the wrong person for the job.

The analysis firm released a list of the top 10 enterprise architecture mistakes it has identified, in advance of its Enterprise Architecture Summit, to be held on Oct. 7 in Orlando. The lack of people skills and social connection were at the top of potential hazards for architects.

R. Scott Bittler, vice president of Gartner's IT research division and expert of enterprise architecture at Gartner, said that the No. 1 reason for failure in an architectural effort was having the wrong leader for the project.

“If you give me two people, one of them knows architecture pretty well and is weak on the soft skills: communication skills, the ability to be persuasive, the ability to be a strategically minded thinker, the ability to build and use business relationships," said Bittler. "On the other hand, I have a candidate that has soft skills. Best practices would dictate that I go for the second guy. That's counterintuitive.

"I know lots of architects who know architecture very well but are ineffective because of these other weaknesses. That's the person who talks in a monotone, and nobody listens to them because they're not very good communicators. You need someone with guts and passion. If they know architecture, this is very good too. You can teach someone architecture relatively quickly, but you can’t teach this other stuff. They are learnable, but it usually takes longer, so double-down, or compliment your own weaknesses with team members that have strengths in those areas and plug them in where those things are needed."

People skills are at the center of pitfalls number two and three as well. Bittler said that good architects make sure they've got everyone involved on board, especially the stakeholders and business people who will be using the software when it is completed.



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Comments


09/28/2009 09:58:58 AM EST

Who cares if he can be persuasive. Give him the power to fire people and he won't need to be persuasive. The power of God in his hand will be persuasive enough that everyone will have to do what he says. Workers get paid to do what they are told; they shouldn't need to be persuaded.

United StatesMH


09/28/2009 05:48:53 PM EST

Wanted to send you a note that this article in SD on The Top 10 Enterprise Architecture Blunders is EXCELLENT! I couldn't agree more with the list. Madame Albright even said that no matter how complex or simple the issues...it comes down to relationships. Hope you don't mind that I tweeted the article link to my followers.

United StatesPat Ferdinandi, Chief Thought Translator


09/29/2009 12:08:02 PM EST

"one of them knows architecture pretty well and is weak on the soft skills" This should be rephrase to "one of them knows architecture pretty well with strong the soft skills and only know how to use word and ppt." Many enterprise architect know nothing about programming, even basic logic. The fact is a good architect should have some basic common sense. For example, a = b; c = a; If b is changed, c will be changed. I know it is VERY COMPLEX and IMPOSSIBLE TO UNDERSTAND. I am not scaring the architects. Please learn some logic like this or print and stick it on the wall.

Canadapuzzlefun


09/30/2009 06:47:05 AM EST

'You can teach someone architecture relatively quickly, but you can’t teach this other stuff'. I think exactly the opposite: Basic Soft skills can be easily learned with training (although natural talent helps, of course). It seems that R. Scott Bittler, 'vice president of Gartner's IT research division' and 'expert of enterprise architecture at Gartner' knowledge about software architecture comes from his experience as lawyer, marketing or maybe football player. Any real software engineer knows that learning architecture is a matter of years, because what makes a good technical architect is a mix of knowledge and experience. Soft skills are also required, indeed, but if you use a magnetic-personality TV presenter as software architect after a short technical training, it's quite likely that your project will find a few problems in its way.

SpainJesus


09/30/2009 09:53:15 AM EST

Team members aren't the only group that persuasion can be helpful with. The "soft" skills are probably more useful when dealing with those outside the group. Note that the "persuasion" in #2 and 3 is directed at the stakeholders and business units that will be using the project when complete. I have known Designers/Architects/Analysts with 4 or 5 active projects each. All of these were stalled waiting for the input of end users, outside the team a Lead can intimidate with firing. A Lead that can persuade those people is more useful to complete the project than a petty tyrant.

United StatesJN


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