I’m talking to you Chief Architect. Roll up your sleeve. Get some real work done. Leading Enterprise Architecture (EA) is not a job for the pure delegator and progress monitor. Your EA leader should be a jack of all traits who can help their team in a hands on fashion. Two main reasons why:
EA teams are small
EA team members might need to be augmented for soft skills (see Unicorn blog and you’re good at it blog)
EA teams are small and every hour of help counts
EA’s value proposition is to solution for complex business capabilities aligned to the target state architecture efficiently. To be efficient you need to be small and nimble. A very complex engagement usually only takes 2-3 EAs supported with SME or other EA spot consulting. Also keeping EA team members in synch with the latest architecture thinking is far easier done with a small team.
Since EA teams are small, EA leaders have to jump in every now and then to get stuff done. There is no or limited staff to help fill demand spikes.
EA team members might need to be augmented for soft skills
Your EA team members need to be technically sound. That being said not everyone on your team will have the best communication skills. As an EA leader your communications skills need to be strong so help out in business case development, portraying solution options’ pros and cons, structuring an architecture analysis report out, having a sensitive discussion with an IT or Business partner, …
Finally, getting your hands dirty with your core team members has many other benefits. It’s the most effective way for you to be a leader coach; it keeps you grounded in the challenges your front line troops face; it gains you team’s respect and trust. Their’s nothing worse than a boss who is disconnected from reality.