Documentation Trivializes Everything

June 5, 2017

Several years ago my colleague Dan wrote about how we Should Not Get Distracted by the Document. Dan made the case that architecture documents are tools to figure out architecture, not the ex-post-facto results of architecture design you’ve already done in less disciplined ways (verbal debates, email chains, “brainstorming” and other adhoc, document-less activities).

But I am going to one-up Dan right now by declaring that focusing on documentation absolutely trivializes what we do as architects. Read more



Know Your Personality

May 22, 2017

5 years ago I wrote that the best personality to have in architecture consulting was the “Type A” – a personality type characterized by ambition, high energy, competitiveness, and thought to be susceptible to stress and heart disease. The whole Type A/B model of personalities isn’t a very reliable one (it was concocted by cardiologists in the 1950s), but I went with it since it is still in colloquial use, and was close enough to my meaning.

This is what they call “Passive-Aggressive”

The point was to stress the importance of being aggressive and/or assertive at the right times during your IT consulting work, although this is not always the right way to be. Knowing when to turn on your Inner Hulk, or your Inner Milton Waddams (the wimpy guy with the red stapler in the movie, Office Space) depends on where your baseline is.

So here is some wildly conflicting personality advice that will or will not apply directly to you. Read more



Type A’s Needed!

November 26, 2012

We write frequently on this blog about our proven method to deliver IT architectures based on industry-standard tools and approaches like UML and IT Risk Management. We also write about the critical intangible skills that an architect needs to succeed, such as meeting facilitation, diplomacy and organization. One needs to be steeped in all these areas – as well as to form a strong “magic triangle” of technical/business/management skills to really succeed.
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The Solution Architect’s Path to Success

April 11, 2012

Welcome to today’s blog. Sit back and relax. Close your eyes. Take some deep relaxing breaths. Envision a Utopian architecture project delivery:

  • Scope is clear and agreed upon,
  • Requirements are carefully crafted,
  • Read more


Facts: The Architect’s “Big Stick”

August 16, 2011

“Speak softly and carry a big stick: You will go far.”
– African Proverb

Diplomat is a key role that Systems Flow’s architects often fill for our clients. Software projects and change initiatives inevitably bring disputes and disagreements over requirements, scope, priority, standards, architectures and solutions. While most project management disciplines offer approaches to managing issues, we have found a basic mantra that keeps us on track: Read more



Avoiding Accidental Choices

May 4, 2011

“If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice…”
Peart, Neil. Freewill.”
Permanent Waves. Mercury 1980.

With frightening frequency, we see technology projects become subject to “accidental choices“, when rigor is bypassed without a conscious choice having been made to do so. Read more



Goal Based Conversations

April 19, 2011

I find myself asking my children with great frequency, “What is your goal?” Not in a philosophical “What are you going to do with your life” way, but in a “What could your goal be aside from making your sister cry” way. Read more



Architect or Diplomat?

January 13, 2011

I was approached by a colleague after a recent architecture design meeting who remarked, “Wow, you are quite the diplomat!”, which made me stop and think. This is a common refrain we hear at client sites. While we believe our technical knowledge and experience enable us to bring significant value to clients, we rely just as heavily, if not more, on our diplomacy to broker architecture designs to conclusion. Creating a great design is just a piece of the architect’s puzzle. This led to some ruminations on an Enterprise Architect’s “soft skills” that are not directly related to core technology capabilities and some thoughts regarding architecture diplomacy.

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