Without doubt the biggest contributing factor to success on projects where I’ve been engaged as an Enterprise Architect is the human dimension. Bringing a method that people can buy into, in a language that they understand and then reinforcing this with a positive atmosphere.
One of the most rewarding experiences was seeing a situation where a large Dutch governmental organisation was known to have a culture that was described as a “Snake Pit” and sure enough, when I joined the team the fangs and the venom came out. Two consultants from Sogeti were so distraught that they left the buildings in tears. I had the good fortune of having come from certain industries in the United Kingdom where one develops an immunity to these antics and personal character assassinations and in fact one finds them rather amusing. However, as amusing as they may well be, especially witnessing the increasing ire and frustration in certain individuals who found that all their ploys were simply not working, as I said, as amusing as it may have been this was not going to be a good recipe for collaborative cooperation.
The Dutch culture lends itself to cooperation and collaboration. There are distinct Polder Model whereby people respectfully listen to each other, define their roles, expectations, goals and their cooperation agreements. It was a fascinating and most rewarding experience. However, in certain institutions this does not work.
What did help was the Lean approach to defining roles and responsibilities, which empowered the antagonists and slowly they were taken up with working towards building their own place in the organisation. The point being that these, far from being negative people, were people who had not been taken along the journey as the organisation was transforming. They had valuable skills, knowledge and could see shortcomings that could, in their mind, disrupt the status-quo of their own lives and existence. Actually being able to listen to their concerns, map them out to the strategic and subsequent system, business and information views helped to shine a light on the risks and the way that they would be addressed.
I do hope that they no longer hate me as intensively as they did to begin with, As a consultant, an invader, it is sometimes our role to provide a living target against which all blame, ailments and venom can be thrown. The most rewarding aspect of this is in winning people’s trust as one among equals and to empower them to forge a future where they can see themselves comfortably grow. And so, like Don Quixote, we move on to fight the next giant.