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EA leaders are communicators

We’ve talked about how we’d love all Enterprise Architecture (EA) core team members to be Unicorns. These are the folks in the light boxes below. Now let’s talk about the gray boxes, EA leadership.

Out of the two top skills for EA team members

  1. Have broad AND deep process and/or technical knowledge for their domain

  2. Be fact based

Being fact based is also one of the top two skills for EA leaders. The second being a good communicator.

Being a good communicator in this case doesn’t require excellent written skills or being able to hold gripping speeches. The communication skills I’d be looking for in EA leaders are:

  • Communicate in business terms (includes financials)

  • Be concise

  • Have standards to communicate solution options, architecture analyses and the architecture operating model

If your EA team doesn’t have someone that maintains standards around architecture artifacts and general knowledge management, then EA leaders will also need to:

  • Develop standards/templates to communicate to the matrix

  • Develop knowledge management procedures for enterprise artifacts (standards, patters, white papers) and how to organize them (portal, document management)

Typically, an EA leader has enough technical background or they wouldn’t even be considered for the role. As the EA leader you want to make sure the right architects are engaged so that the analysis is holistic and doesn’t miss important components of the architecture. It is very important though that the EA leader has their team collect and assemble the facts. The leader should only do any architecting if absolutely necessary. If your employees sense that you have a strong biased towards a certain architecture they might just go along with it because you’re the boss not because it's the right answer.

You might recall that in an earlier blog, I disagreed with some “experts” that EA team members’ (the light colored boxes) most important skills are soft skills. I still stick to that. But I do agree with the “experts” that this is true for EA leaders.

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