Last month, Architecting the Enterprise launched its’ first Soft Skills for Enterprise Architects (SSFEA) course in London, UK. The feedback received was fantastic as attendees reported the skills learned are exactly what they feel are required to take Enterprise Architecture to a higher level of success within their organizations. Here’s what some of the attendees had to say:
“Met my expectations. Parts of it seemed tailor made for my personal short comings. eg. communication skills,
stakeholder management and influencing people.” BP Architect, London, United Kingdom
“For me the SSFEA course provided substantial information and a much deeper understanding of the overall topic.
It will be a great help in day to day work, not only in the area of Enterprise Architecture.” Armin Kress, Sud-Chemie, Munich
It is commonly agreed that Enterprise Architects are responsible for change within their organizations. While this accepted, it is often not understood.
John Paul Kotter, a professor from Harvard Business School, is a world-renowned leadership and organization change expert. He introduced a change process framework in his book, ‘Leading Change’ (1995). His framework identifies 8 steps to successful organization change based on observations of where companies repeatedly go wrong and fail to meet their aspirations.
These 8 steps are described in figure 1 alongside some of key recommendations from EA best practice. Both of these frameworks highlight the need for soft skills around leadership, effective communications, and empowerment.
Each of these areas are interrelated but focus on different aspects of soft skills in relation to Enterprise Architecture and business transformation as represented in the diagram below, taken from the SSFEA course.
Enterprise Architecture frameworks provide the structure and best practices to take a systematic approach to business and IT transformation. However, it is appropriate soft skills and human behaviour in the usage of such a framework that ensures success.
Enterprise Architects must not only have knowledge of such an approach but they must also have necessary soft skills to engender/give rise to appropriate human behaviours to achieve the desired business and IT transformation.