Thursday, January 08, 2009

What should a Enterprise Architect look to find in a job?

I was chatting with a fellow SOA expert Tim Vibber also known as the SOA Chief.  We were talking about what a couple of guys who want to start an SOA consulting company should do.  This took the conversation to why SOA fails and to a post about SOA being dead.

After talking about the failure points, I wondered what makes a good/great architect.  Tim stats that we need to develop systems to be more nimble.  I couldn't agree more, but the question is why can't companies do that?  Why can't architects accomplish that simple statement of "make systems more nimble"?

Both Tim and I are looking for new opportunities so what are these attributes?  Do we have control of them?

To explain these attributes, I am going to borrow something from one of my favorite podcasts: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders Lecture from Stanford University Technology Ventures Program.  Although I have learned so much from all of the various pod casts, one of my favorite is from Tina Seeliq entitled What I wish I knew when I was 20.  Tina described many important attributes such as Every problem is an opportunity, "the harder I work, the luckier I am" and "never miss an opportunity to be fabulous" and many others.

But the one I want to use here is "Find the intersection between your Interests, Skills and the market."  Tina uses this to describe where one should look to find a career.  She shows where one of those attributes are missing that it is less than ideal.

Interest + market but no skill then your a fan
Interest + Skills but no market then that's a hobby
skills + market but no interest then that's a "job"
Interest + skills + Market = career: A place where you can invest yourself with reward.

For an enterprise architect, I want to change this slightly.  I want to find the traits that are needed for an enterprise architect.

Thus far I've come up with Vision, Passion, Power and Need.

Vision + passion + need but no power = impotent and frustration
Vision + passion + power but no need = unneeded/wasteful projects
Passion + power + need but no vision = future integration opportunity or stuck in the way we've been doing it forever
Vision + power + need but no passion = no buy-in

I would love some thoughts on this.  I think this is very critical to finding good architects and empowering them but also how does an architect find a place s/he should be?