Saturday, September 13, 2008

Finally, I learned something

I had a chance to talk to one of my friend who is working on his dissertation. He is focusing on psychological aspects of success. After a long discussion with him about many topics, one thing really stood out by itself. Success is all about creating realistic targets and achieving them with pragmatic efforts. For example, if you can lift say 35 lbs/kgs then go for 35 or say 36-37, but beyond that you are in the stress zone. Now if you set the target of lifting say 40 lbs then give yourself some time – a realistic one would be a few weeks – anywhere between 2-3 weeks. If you try to achieve this overnight then you are in the stress zone. Be realistic is what I heard almost every time we talked about success.

I am definitely overweight. My weight should be in the 150 lbs range and it hovers around 162 lbs. So I belong to the club of 60% overweight Americans. If I set the target of 150 lbs in 3 weeks, I am in the stress zone, but if I do it in say 8 weeks – that’s more realistic.

Another stress factor was really a news to me. The Focus – almost every job requirement on DICE and Monster has it – we need someone who can multitask. Multitasking is not a synonym for focus – is it? According to psychologist, multitasking will reduce the quality of your work and will lead you to a stressful situation. So realizing the limits of what is doable and what is not is really important. Yes, we can chat with our friends while seating in a long design meeting, but I don’t think that’s possible if you are in the middle of a refactoring session.

Personally, I would like to avoid multitasking as much as possible. Now I know this is not something my boss or employer would like to know. But I would prefer quality over quantity anytime – anywhere. I have just started reading a WCF book –Learning WCF. My goal was to finish it over the weekend and to get the ball rolling come next Monday. Without realizing, I was pushing myself into the stress zone. Practically, this is an impossible target. So I am going to give myself a few more weeks and try to stick to my plan. I have one more book seating on my desk – Service Oriented Modeling. But for now, I am going to move this book back to my bookshelf. Wow! Finally, I learned something…

Sunday, September 7, 2008

A great fit ..

[And] I think you are a great fit for this…

What is Business? From Nature of the Firm by Coase [1] to the Porter's 5 forces analysis [2], this question is analyzed and explained in numerous studies and research. Still this important question is overlooked in many discussions related to this topic like a role of an architect. Figure 1 is another interpretation of the Marketplace and the Business

Figure 1: The Marketplace and the Business

There are enterprise architects, solution architects and infrastructure architects. Sometime the job description is a combination of all of the above or none of the above based on the situation and the project. A new way of looking at it is in terms of depth and width. An enterprise architect is responsible for managing the big picture and hence is a width base role. Solution architect focus on the project or a particular part of the project like performance or security and hence is a depth based role. Infrastructure architect is responsible for the infrastructure – viz SAN/WAN, servers, scalability, etc.

Architects are also responsible for coordinating operations between all other components of the business like HR, Marketing, Sales, etc. and the IT. Sometimes this means a political position and in other cases it’s a technical responsibility. Enterprise frameworks did an excellent job in capturing the technology component. The political/people part of the puzzle is mostly an on-job learning/training activity.

The role of an architect is to understand the business strategy/vision and implement it successfully in terms of improving existing process or by creating new processes. As explained in figure 1, it is important to understand the reason behind the project. For example, a project to support a new service or product will be totally different from the project focused on improving existing product/service. With a new product or service, an architect has got the freedom to start from scratch with a blank slate. Project focused on improving the existing product/service will mostly be a migration project like upgrading a legacy system, implementing some sort of application integration, etc.

An architect is like a conductor of an orchestra. Although, conductor does not play any instrument, he is responsible for producing the melody bounded by the music rules like the Symphony No. 40 [3].

Oh! What about an enterprise solution architect? The headhunter kept going on and on for almost five minutes. And then he said, you know, you should consider this seriously as their business is doing really good and they are growing really fast. A position with a local, stable, fast growing, privately owned company and yes, the salary is in six digits. I asked him, what is their business and he said does it matter? They are looking for an enterprise solution architect. [And] I think you are a great fit for this…



Monday, September 1, 2008

David Linthicum on SOA

Vendor Driven Architecture [VDA] ,Manage by Magazine [MBM], Rabbit Consulting, think strategically and not around the quarter for making the bonuses. I heard all these terms in a SOA presentation by David Linthicum.

Here is the youtube URL -

Here are some tidbits from this presentation

Architecture is something that you build not buy

Good Architects are expensive

Its up to you to decide what you want to build – SOA Zoo or SOA architecture

How NOT to build EA - signs to look for

Enterprise Architect is a position with no power and no authority

Architects write the documents that nobody read and talk about the things no body listens