Women in Architecture Spotlight – Melissa Roberts

Featured in this week’s spotlight is Melissa Roberts, Strategic Business Architect / Managing Consultant at LeadingAgile.

Roberts is a certified business architect from the Business Architecture Guild, she has helped organizations build successful business architecture teams. She has enabled numerous organizations to generate tens of millions of dollars in incremental value by aligning their systems and structures with customers and markets.Melissa Roberts pic

Roberts holds an MS in Organizational Leadership with a focus on Strategic Leadership from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a Bachelor’s in Psychology from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

She truly embraces that ‘growth mindset’ by onboarding new concepts such as Enterprise co-design and applying Generative AI to something as ordinary as architecture artefacts.

Following below, Roberts shares some of her insights about her successful career and what she sees in the future.

Question: How did you get your start in the industry?

Answer: My path to becoming a Business Architect has been interesting. As a young adult, I was set on becoming a Clinical Psychologist. I found the field fascinating and wanted to devote my time to helping others. During my graduate program, I supplemented my income working as a developer focusing on statistical analysis. During this time, I realized that while I wanted to help solve problems, I did not want to pursue my PhD in Clinical Psychology. I transitioned more into Information Technology. As I continued my journey, my focus turned towards analyzing the needs of the business. Here I found a place where I could employ my psychology background, just not in the way I originally thought.  I found an affinity and talent in helping the business achieve their desired business results. I moved from developer to business analyst to business architect. Along the way I developed skills as a Product Owner, Portfolio Manager, Product Lead, and change management and business architecture working on small initiatives to larger global efforts.

Q: What is your current responsibility and what is your typical day like?

A: Currently, I am a Strategic Business Architect in the consulting area and am responsible for helping mature and build business architecture practices and working with senior executives to align their strategic vision to reality.  I also mentor business architects to grow in their new roles. Along with mentoring, I help the companies realize the value of organizing around business capabilities and a value structure. Depending on the client, this could range from collaborating to develop a business architecture framework including capabilities and value streams, planning for organizational change, to helping clients understand generate value though capability-based investment. My day to day is spent ensuring my clients have what they need to successful.

Q: What do you like most about your job?

A: Upon reflection the answer is twofold. Solving pressing issues that keep an organization from achieving their goals keeps me engaged and learning. Being exposed to different types of industries and people has given me immense insight in how business architecture and change management (the psychology of change) work together.

Q: What trends in architecture are you looking out for the rest of 2023 and 2024?

A: Unless you live under a rock, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning have been rapidly advancing and are becoming increasingly integrated into organizations. Understanding how this impacts different industries and guiding the organizations on best practices for business architecture is critical. Even more important is establishing the health of business capabilities, including their financial viability, to help organizations determine where and when to introduce AI and/or ML into their ecosystems.

Within the next 18-36 months, I see the composable business as a continuing emerging trend that will become more important for CEOs in the next 18-36 months. The composable business will help organizations accelerate their digital business goals. A perfect example of why organizations need to embrace the composable business is the effect of the recent pandemic. Organizations found themselves unable to adapt quickly enough to the new demands. What they thought was a flexible organization in truth was brittle. Business Architecture is well suited to help CEOs adapt their organization to be composable. When you organize around capabilities you then have the mechanisms to be flexible and resilient.

Q: What is one thing we can do to support or increase the women in architecture?

A: Making visible the work that women do in architecture. Empowering women to quantify the economic value of business architecture will increase their visibility in an industry where all too frequently, business architecture is an end in itself, not a means to generate value.