Five New Year’s Resolutions for Enterprise Architects

The beginning of a new year affords Enterprise Architects a wonderful opportunity to re-evaluate their professional approach to their craft.

Here at A&G Magazine, we often have opportunities to speak with people in the business who see trends and opportunities. One of those is Jeff Ellerbee, solutions marketing manager and evangelist for Planview’s EA products.

We asked Jeff what kinds of New Year’s resolutions he would recommend for EAs. He gave us what he calls five “radical resolutions” to help EAs stand out from the crowd and are designed to “get you out of your EA comfort zone.”

  • Resolve to be more strategic. “EAs should read their company’s annual report,” Jeff said. “They should learn what their Board of Directors says are the key strategies for the company. How will EAs change their behavior this year to help their company better implement and execute those strategies?”
  • Resolve to be more inclusive. “EAs should share EA-related information and take input from parts of their business that they normally don’t work with,” he said. “One of the insights from a recent survey we did says that EAs rarely work with two groups in particular — sales and marketing. Given that customers are the main drivers of digital transformation, it might be a good idea to work closer with these groups, which are the closest to customers, e.g. sales, marketing, or support.”
  • Resolve to be more “Customer Aligned. EAs should mentally align themselves (and their team if possible) around their company’s products and customers instead of the traditional technology domains,” he said. “They should learn as much as they can about the products their company sells and who buys them. Such questions might be: How do customers learn about your products? Why do they buy? What is the value? What channels are the products sold through?”
  • Resolve to stop having “technology first” conversations. “Have business conversations instead,” Jeff said.  “Have conversations that lead with a business issue, or business value.  Have these conversations with everyone including EA peers. This doesn’t mean EAs shouldn’t talk about technology of course, but also have customer conversations about technology and product conversations about technology.”
  • Resolve to accelerate the delivery of strategy. “Most modern companies depend on delivery of new technology to achieve strategy, and EAs have always helped organizations make better technology decisions,” he said. “But just making the decision is not enough, change still needs to be delivered into the existing technology estate. Even if delivery is not an EA responsibility, EAs don’t get credit unless the new change is delivered. Resolve to better help delivery organizations. Offer your expertise and analysis of technology portfolio. And expose opportunities to leverage existing technology, which is less risky and already vetted.”

So, there you have it. Its not an exhaustive list. But one, if considered, can make you the best Enterprise Architect you can be.