I am pleased to announce that MwK Solutions is an approved G-Cloud 9 supplier. See here for details.
I have had many great discussions with very well respected Enterprise Architects who are extremely passionate about Enterprise Architecture (EA), it's frameworks and the value proposition for EA. I have been party to debates about methods and approaches to modeling, agile EA, the relationships between EA and governance frameworks and service management frameworks, what artifacts belong to what domain, I could go on and on. It's all great stuff. It's intellectually stimulating and a great source of material when building an EA capability. If that is, you're an Enterprise Architect. For a CxO then probably not so much.
This is the same CxO who is likely to have an influence on the funding authority you need for your EA initiatives. The same CxO to whom you feel it's important to explain what EA is and why they need it. So here's the thing. Don't mention EA. Don't try to explain what it is. No matter how well you did in your elevator pitch exercise during your TOGAF training, don't pitch EA. It's not the CxO's world.
It's an old yet unbroken record that you need to demonstrate you are in tune with the business objectives of your board and that you have a plan to help them get there.
Show them that the plan involves a team of people that live and breath the business strategy. Demonstrate how these people will devise business solutions that create and measure business outcomes. Articulate that those outcomes will directly deliver the boards objectives.
Set the board on fire. Give examples of how this crack team will offer options with real delivery plans that innovate company products and services to accelerate competitive advantage and reduce costs. Any business owner or senior management is going to want some of that.
Ok, so we know doing that stuff in practice is hard. It's very easy for me to sit on a train writing about setting the board on fire but making that real isn't. Every business is different and how to instill passion in your board is a great challenge to have, and infinitely awesome to overcome. Remain mindful that the funding you need is likely to come from people who at best have heard of EA but aren't quite sure what it's for. That's because they're occupied with running their business. So sell the business partnership dream, not EA. Sell cooling, not the fridge.
I used to be a developer. I remember being so proud at getting my Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer qualification, and later becoming an official “Early Adopter” in .NET. The buzz from watching what happened every time I pressed the run key in Visual Studio, and then the sinking feeling when the red exclamation mark appeared was just magic. Today, of course, we expect to fail early and often as a way of life.
I still love to create techy stuff. A little while ago, when I was developing my pilot skills, I had a “must be an app for that” moment. Turns out there was. I thought there could be a better one.
Pilots have to deal with wind all the time. Its nothing to do with what they eat. You cant always just point the aeroplane in the direction you want to go, because wind blows you off course. The trick for student pilots is working out by how much they need to steer into wind.
I thought an app that did all this for you and printed the wind star would be helpful as a learning aid. Students must of course use the whiz wheel when they actually plan a flight.
So I decided to see if I still had it in me to create that app for the iPhone. And I did. It was a little challenging, but after a lot of Googling, forum reading and red exclamation marks, I uploaded my first app for Apple to review, and it eventually appeared in the app store. By any standards it is very simple (the most complex thing about it was the maths), but I made it, and people actually seem to use it. So I hope I made a difference to any student pilots grappling with the concept of drift, and that I got a little closer to my colleagues in the engineering team. The app can be found here.
This wasn't an attempt at launching a new product line or business. It was an exercise in personal achievement. If this were to be a serious business venture, then I clearly went about it the wrong way round. Building something doesn't mean they'll come. Best to test if there is a need for it first. But for now, it was a bit fun.
I don’t code for a living anymore. I get my kicks today from pressing the metaphorical run button on people, and facilitating great things from diverse teams. When a red exclamation mark does appear to be forming on someone’s forehead, I bring out the ambassador in me and carry out a jolly good debugging.
If you would like to know more about bringing business and technology people together to deliver something of value to your customers or users, please get in touch.