Tag Archives: architect skills

Don’t you want to be a data scientist, architect, painter, lead guitarist at a music band all at the same time?

 

As IT professional’s architects it is said that we belong to more left brain types meaning involved in logical, data focused, critical thinkers and as we progress we are supposed to develop our right brain as well. As IT professional’s architects it is said that we belong to more left brain types meaning involved in logical, data focused, critical thinkers and as we progress we are supposed to develop our right brain as well.

Creational side versus (right )  the Operational side (left )

In the initial stages of your career we are mostly left brained but as we progress up we are supposed to use both the sides of the brain well as jobs that need us to look at the holistic big picture expects us to be both right and left brain oriented. As technologists we tend to become caught up with data, numbers, facts and figures and not perhaps creativity, intuition, feeling and over all visualization capabilities. As architects and IT professionals’ people come in various shades of these polarizations. No one is either totally left or totally right brained for that matter. There are always shades of grey when we talk about the gray matter. As IT professionals we need both of them in good measure when we need to don different kinds of roles. When we are deep down with the nuts and bolts architecture we need to exercise the left brain where there is a lot of data and analytical reasoning and logical analysis needed to arrive at solutions. But when we need to go visualizing how the whole solution fits into an enterprise standpoint or from a business standpoint in the ecosystem then the right brain which is good at leadings us into imagination can helps us with those kinds of situations. As it is said as an architect it is good to fail on paper than on practice. So the more you can fail on a blueprint or a prototype you would have saved yourself from failing in actual where the time money and dollars cost is higher.

As senior IT professional we often times need to shift across these patterns where we need to be focused on the things that matter now (nitty gritty) versus the things that really matter in the long run (big picture). You definitely need to focus and defocus at the same time. This needs practice, practice and following up on your skills.

Need a Mix and Match of skills: Need to look at the market fit, big picture, vision, mission and product viability versus need to look at whether we as a team have the skills to match the requirements are we aligned in the right direction are we able to sift through a lot of data and look and find patterns that are hidden in them. Which runtime to pick against the other, which middleware to choose from the other and which ones are cost effective and also future proof at the same time. Complex processing decisions that the brain needs to factor which needs that you need to up your game to be able to see things from that perspective.

Some quick hacks that people have used to shape your two sides of the brain.

1. Talking to random people outside your sphere or area or interest.

2. Meditate ( Clicked but very effective )

3. Try writing with both hands ( looks childish but many vouch for this )

4. Spend time with all age groups more so with people outside of your age group.

5. Listen to music, art, walks alongside nature and pieces of history.

6. Have quite of few of my friends pursuing different areas of interest completely orthogonal to their existing vocation such as makeup artist , drummer on the side , food truck business , rose cultivator etc etc.

7. Go find your bliss to be more effective.

The Buzz about Togaf as an essential Transformation Framework tool kit for Architects

 

 

 

 

 

Just saw the above job ad from my linkedin feed and this one talks about the company needing a security with a T skill profile.  Meaning have deep dive skills in one or two areas and broad based skills in other areas. Togaf that way has been mixed and matched with other architect skills like Security , Infra , Business , Data , Domain , Functional , Technology architecture domains. This helps a professional have a broad based skill or outlook when they reach a certain career progression path. So one typically gets into the question of what is needed to be an architect . Here is a link on what would be needed to become a good architect for the ones who may want to make that career progression. Steps to transition into an architect path .

The ancient definition of an architect was that he/she should be a many of letters , arts , science , literature , music , architecture ( building / landscape ) etc. Meaning that you should be a Da Vinci to really have that title. But it is not that bad if you are planning to become a solution , IT or enterprise architect. As we all can’t be Da Vinci’s to fill that slot.

Kiran , so if you are wanting to make that transition happen or be exposed to that body of knowledge to help you with having an architect’s mindset then Togaf comes to the rescue.

Mind you it is not really needed to have a certification to become a good architect. But certifications expose one to a body of knowledge that companies and peers value. You may possess this knowledge by virtue of being in a certain role or vantage point in a company.

Every skill you acquire doubles your odds of success. Scott Adams

 

Value Stream as an Essential Tool for Architects…

This topic came to my mind while I was chatting with my cousin over the weekend who was presenting on this topic as a part of the CII ( Confederation of India Industry ) conference. He works for a mechanical company and was to present the business benefits in his company. They had optimized their existing set of process to reduce the cycle time of churning new products. They had mapped their existing process structure from the point where the raw materials are procured to the place where they undergo various levels of transformation / integration to finally give that polished output. This happens as a part of various business process work flows. He had his presentation ready and was to explain how useful this technique is for extracting maximum enterprise value in an organization.

What does Value Stream mean to an architect ?

value chain diagram provides a high-level orientation view of an enterprise and how it interacts with the outside world. The purpose of this diagram is to quickly on-board and align stakeholders for a particular change initiative, so that all participants understand the high-level functional and organizational context of the architecture engagement.

Porter’s Value Chain analysis is used to develop a focus on those activities within your Company that significantly add value and thus give you a competitive edge. For instance, if your team is very good at analysis and design such that you can define and bound a problem better than anyone else in the world, you could put in a process to continually implement new design and analysis methods and disseminate that throughout the organization so that you are always the best. And you can lead with that in your marketing efforts by calling that out as a “feature” and highlighting the benefits to the customer of lower development cost, more robust solutions, etc. Value Chain Analysis is a way to get at your key competencies which create differentiated products and services.

Although the above diagram can look like more of an MBA kind of material trying to unify the business problem and the IT solutions to plug the same. As you progress in your careers you are expected to understand both the business and the IT sides of the equation well and this is a useful tool to help one with the mental model for the same. This is very useful in getting discussions started with the customer and quite handy during consulting and internal process revamp exercises.

As far as architects are concerned their efforts should be focused on activities that bring the highest business value to the organization and the customer. This needs them to understand in the sense of what constitutes primary and secondary activities that bring value to the end customer. Once this is understood the organization can pull the strings in the right direction and focus its efforts in the right direction. Here is leaving you with a brief intro video on what is value chain https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g8p2H7EvoGM.

Give yourself permission to think differently – Design thinking to the rescue

Here is an interesting news article about how Airbnb solved their problem by redefining their scope.They were stuck as they were looking at how to scale things first before solving other issues. You never know where your potential solution can come from unless you have looked at the problem from all its dimensions.

http://firstround.com/review/How-design-thinking-transformed-Airbnb-from-failing-startup-to-billion-dollar-business/

Thinking outside of the box is a key skill for an architect . It involves being exposed to new ways to think about existing issues. Most often people are so neck deep into finding solutions to problems that they forget to explore other options of how to make things better for people , customers. Most often the architects are disconnected from end user realities and design solutions considering only the technical landscape. This creates a one pointed view of looking at and arriving solutions. Most often the best solutions to customer facing solutions come from the coffee boy , the security guard or the customer who is using the system on a day in day out basis. Have we cared to check what are all the possible solutions which can enhance customer experience before going ahead with the solutions that are merely technology oriented and miss the business outcome or even the end user experience.  Design thinking is a skill for an architect or a solution designer and is a skill that has many people looking forward to which is about getting a problem all out captured in all its dimensions and looking also for problems from all quarters. It does not designate anyone with a Chief of Innovation mantle to innovate on the problem , everyone is a potential out of box thinker. Every input when processed through the design funnel could solve a teething problem with a solution that everyone in WOW !!.

Here is leaving you with a design thinking approach to solve a product rollout issue using principles of design thinking