A smart pairing of a Senior and a Junior Architect radically simplifies Enterprise Architecture thinking

These days practically all business development projects end up as IT matters at some point. Digitalization transforms all aspects of a company, so its IT function plays a crucial role in solving its business challenges.

No organization is ready to face the challenges mounted by digitalization without having an Enterprise Architecture that is smartly planned and prepared for continuous development. Companies often try to tackle problems by acquiring new systems – but if the underlying Information Architecture is not in shape, new systems can create new troubles rather than solve existing ones.

Enterprise Architecture is tasked with creating a uniform picture of both business and IT, so that they can communicate with each other seamlessly. When business and IT succeed in creating a shared language, IT becomes a valid development partner for business, instead of being just an additional expense.

Architecture does not thrive in isolation

Smart management plays a most crucial role in bringing IT and business together. In the IT management framework of the ICT Standard Forum we call our way of thinking BRM, Business Relationship Management. It is all about the codependency and mutual support of business and IT.

Unfortunately, both IT people and those in business roles can be prisoners of their own organizations. Both are deeply invested in their own projects and tasks. This can mean that people focus too rigidly on their own problems and overanalyze their own particular role when the main focus should be on developing Enterprise Architecture that benefits the entire company.

However, architecture does not thrive in isolation. Its mission is to lead development ideas towards the project portfolio in a constructive and controlled manner. Utilizing an external consultant in architecture development work can help an organization to focus on the big picture without excess departmental baggage. The most efficient results are achieved when a consultant’s fresh outside perspective is combined with the client organization’s own deep know-how and skills. At its best, this symbiosis enables the organization to place its resources in the right places at the right time, instead of dividing up the development process into too small fragments. We know that resources are never infinite.

Four ears hear more than two

A successful Enterprise Architecture needs a certain mindset of simplification. Sometimes this can even seem quite radical. The leading thought here is that the development process should produce finished points of view and clear practical tasks, not just another pile of documents.

Our way of working with architecture is to utilize our Enterprise Architecture as a Service concept. An essential part of this is flexible resourcing, for example the use of a consultant team formed by a Senior and a Junior Architect. A partnership like this can provide our clients with more holistic views and more cost-efficient results. Another benefit of working in pairs is that we can listen to our clients with four ears instead of only two, and truly spend time onsite with the client. If problems arise, they are easier to solve when more than just one person is invested in the process and its aims.

In everyday work the Senior and Junior consultants challenge each other in a constructive manner. The Senior obviously has more practical professional experience and the Junior can bring the latest trends from the world of academia. A combination such as this spurs each person to be bolder and to seek out points of view that would not be possible to find alone. The client benefits by receiving a higher quality end result.

Delegating tasks forces clarity

Another major benefit of working as a pair of a Senior and a Junior is that delegating tasks forces the consultant to pay particular attention to the clarity and understandability of the project. When the duo of consultants has thought out the roles and tasks of the entire project so that it is easy for another person to understand, the hand-over moment to the client at the end of the project becomes much smoother.

Or if the result of the project is instead to continue development together with the client and the consultants, it becomes easier to make decisions and form future plans when the guidelines and signposts have already been designed in a very clear style.

 

About the Authors: Risto Vitikainen & Pasi Lahtonen

Risto Vitikainen has made a quick leap from the role of a Junior Architect into a fearless and proactive architecture expert. Sofigate’s EA as a Service concept has been a major enabler in his development as he has had the opportunity to work as a pair with an experienced Senior consulant.

Pasi Lahtonen has developed Architecture in various fields for over a decade. He has worked with solution architecture, purchasing support, framework development and major transformations. Pasi has also taken part in developing Sofigate’s current Enterprise Architecture concept since the beginning and he coaches EA as Head Coach in the IT Academy.

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