Speaking at the Troux Enterprise Architecture Conference

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I had the pleasure of being asked to speak on the Industry Perspectives Panel at the very first Troux Enterprise Architecture conference in Austin, TX. I am looking forward to networking with this vibrant community of practitioners and sharing some of my insights with the Enterprise Architecture community.

Stop by as we have some great speakers and industry experts on the panel that will be worth the watch.

Industry Perspective: Great Performances
Moderated by George Paras, A&G Editor-in-Chief; Guest speakers: Mike J. Walker, Principal Architect, Microsoft, Aleks Buterman, Founder, SenseAgility, Tim Westbrock, Managing Director EAdirections, Paul Preiss, CEO, Iasa

What is it about certain EA teams that makes them great? In this session, a panel of industry experts will share their real-world observations on how and why a few EA teams consistently deliver value to their organizations, while others struggle.
The panelists will explore and debate some of the key attributes of top performing teams, those who have mastered the balancing act required for success; teams that understand the big picture, who gather data, synthesize and analyze, create appropriate recommendations, and provide actionable guidance that informs the rest of their organization. Their influence helps shape how organizations address everything from large scale transformational change to understanding how to optimize their portfolios.
Join our panelists as they discuss their observations, take questions from the audience, and share examples of the people, processes, structures, and approaches that EA teams use to deliver Great Performances.

 

If you are interested in networking ping me on twitter (@mikejwalker) or email (mikewalk@microsoft.com) and will be sure to sync with you.

Looking forward to the event!

 

If you are interested in following the conference on Twitter the hash tag for the conference is #troux2011.

 

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IQ Isn’t Enough. Enterprise Architects Must Balance with EQ Driven Approaches

Mike Walker's Blog: EQ vs IQ

It is truly interesting to see how Enterprise Architecture has evolved and where it’s evolving to. I talked about this in my “Enterprise Architecture, The Great Journey from IT to the Business” post and again in “Communication is Key for Enterprise Architects”. It is subtle, but there is a common backplane element in play, an increasing focus focus on the non-technical elements and more on the business elements.

The buzz in the industry is centered around Business Architecture, Alignment with the Business, Partnership with the Business and Changing IT’s business relationship. These concepts in purely a business sense have been around for a very long time, hundreds of years (more depending on how you classify) in fact.  To successfully do this it requires two elements. A great deal of domain expertise in the business with facts, business models and analytics. However, what is even more necessary is the savvy to navigate the organization and drive decisions that move the organization forward. Commonly referred to as soft skills.

I wonder to myself, how is Enterprise Architecture going to be successful if when we keep describing EA in hard skills (technical skills) terms. For example, I hear quite a bit about the following concerns:

  • How is ES and SOA different?
  • What is the right EA framework?
  • What is EA like in a cloud world?
  • Can I be an architect?

 

Mike Walker's Blog: Hard vs. Soft Skills

These are quite relevant questions and should have the attention of the Enterprise Architects but what I am finding that there is too much emphasis on the hard skills. We see this play out quite a bit in organizations around the world and discussed in business development books and articles. A great example is found in one of my favorite books, Five Dysfunctions of a Team. The CTO was an extremely smart individual (high IQ) but struggled given his soft skills (low EQ).

How do we manage this imbalance? Enterprise Architects need to add these missing elements to their repertoire in order to be effective. There is a term for this situational and organizational dynamics element that we could assert as individuals, that is emotional intelligence. 

Emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability, capacity, skill or, in the case of the trait EI model, a self-perceived ability to identify, assess, and control the emotions of oneself, of others, and of groups. Different models have been proposed for the definition of EI and there is disagreement about how the term should be used.Despite these disagreements, which are often highly technical, the ability-EI and trait-EI models (but not the mixed models) enjoy support in the literature and have successful applications in various domains.

– wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emotional_intelligence)

 

As you can see from the definition above, through EI an individual can  have a heighten awareness of the people around him/her. This is especially relevant for Enterprise Architects govern their complex charter.  This will help in navigating the complexities of the culture and individual needs, motivators and political deliver business driven results within the a dynamic culture of both IT and the business.

You maybe wondering how EI can be quantified or how to benchmark yourself to see how strong you are in EI. It turns out that EI has a similar measurement as IQ which is called Emotional Quotient (EQ).

is a measure of your emotional intelligence, or your ability to use both your emotions and cognitive skills in your life. Emotional intelligence competencies include but are not limited to empathy, intuition, creativity, flexibility, resilience, coping, stress management, leadership, integrity, authenticity, intrapersonal skills and interpersonal skills.

Balancing IQ and EQ are critically important. There must be a yen and yang approach to this as too much of one can most certainly impact your results. Below are some examples of how these two are different and you can most definitely infer how they complement each other.

Mike Walker's Blog: EQ vs IQ

 

Enterprise Architects have a complex job of bridging the divide between strategy and execution. On one end it’s working with senior business decision makers on their strategies and on the other EA’s are working with a Project Management Office, Operations, Solution Architects and maybe even Developers. This is one of the most difficult jobs in the industry hands down.

The question is, how will the EA industry adapt? Will more competencies be created, taught and exercised as an industry as a whole? I sure hope so, Emotional Intelligence is critical to our success as an industry!

 

Here are some good reading materials

Mike Walker's Blog: EQ  Mike W
alker's Blog: EQ Mike Walker's Blog: EQ Mike Walker's Blog: EQ

 

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