Selecting the right architect for the job… using a competency framework

The fast-paced world of technology is ever-changing, yet boasts long-term achievements such as the successful adoption of agile practices into many IT environments. Creating an Agile organisation with a flourishing Enterprise Architecture Capability requires the identification of key competencies that are essential to getting value from an Enterprise Architecture capability.

Knotion Consulting has successfully customised and used an Enterprise Architecture competency framework to help its clients establish strong, value adding enterprise architecture teams.

Why we did it

Despite this continuous acceleration, one constant remains – human capital.  The old principle of ‘past behaviour predicts future behaviour’ was something that provided comfort in terms of assessing and predicting how employees would react to change.  This stability has allowed human capital professionals to manage and support employees through the rapidly changing environments in which they operate.  However, in the past two years, human capital professionals have had to start re-evaluating their approach. It became apparent that in order to progress, people practices need to evolve to match the environments in which they are operating, and this is just as relevant to the Enterprise Architecture environment, if not more.  Finally, human capital meets Agile.

The 2017 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends Report refers to the changes in the world of business as a ‘new era’, the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ and even as ‘the Big Shift’.  Human capital practices as we know it are in the process of a significant change. We are moving towards incorporating Agile operational principles in all areas, from recruitment through the use of gamification, to real-time performance management through discussions and coaching. Organisational design and culture, as well as performance and reward principles, are being re-developed into more Agile methodologies.

At Knotion Consulting we believe that the introduction of Agile methodologies is becoming a necessity because employees, including enterprise architects, are beginning to look for environments where they are able to experience an integrated working experience.  They want to be able to move around freely in their work environment.

Work environments now need to be designed around the team, rather than silos and individual work structures.  Orgnisations need environments that can respond to changes and which demand efficiency, effectiveness and excellence, with less barriers to hinder individuals’ ability to perform.  The concept of opening up office spaces to allow for teams to engage with each other quickly and freely is creating environments of unity and rapid learning, development and growth.  It has also resulted in the re-evaluation of how one can effectively measure performance.  The traditional method of annual goal setting and performance reviews through cascaded performance indicators are steadily falling away, purely because the need for continuous feedback and growth is required in Agile environments.

A ‘team-friendly’ environment is not enough and the challenge within the world of Enterprise Architecture is even greater as we frequently find that the term ‘Enterprise Architect’ means significantly different things to different organisations.  The term often causes confusion as there is no common understanding of the concept and a scarcity of skills in this area. So, how does an organisation establish what a successful enterprise architect is all about and whether these individuals will fit into your environment?

To answer this question, Knotion looked into the concept of how ‘Agile’ should HR practices become?  The beauty of human capital practices is that ‘one size does not fit all’.  We cannot lose sight of the important fact that we are dealing with people, not systems.  People are unique and part of this uniqueness is that they all operate in different ways.  We can contribute to the success of business in their Agile environments by effectively designing processes that ‘speak’ to the people in their specific environments.

Knotion Consulting has concluded that in order to support team-oriented environments, organisations require a framework to back-up the recruitment process and the profiling of the teams, as well as follow through to ensure that the teams operate optimally because they understand each other and how to work well together. As a result, teams buy into the clarity of expectations of work performance provided by the framework.  The key principles regarding people in working environments remains the same but the secret to success is how we apply these principles.

How we do it

 The Enterprise Architecture competency framework used by Knotion is a dynamic tool that supports most areas of creating an Agile, or even a ‘not so’ Agile, environment.  When the competency framework is aligned with business expectations and team requirements it allows an organisation to:

  • identify existing skills compared to required skills, both in teams and the business;
  • identify employees with specific skills needed on a particular project;
  • have a clear framework of what we need to recruit for, in terms of a particular team and/or project;
  • know what employees should be measured against, whilst providing employees with a clear framework of skills required at different levels and positions; and
  • quickly identify where skills are lacking, in order to develop and nurture employees and teams in those areas.

The competency framework is the foundation for creating Agile human capital teams and working environments.  It is a single frame of reference from which many human capital structures and processes flow.

The benefit of a competency framework is that it is tailored to match your Agile, or not-so Agile, environment. It allows you to identify individuals as unique contributors to the business based on the skills and competencies they bring to the table, utilising those that have been identified to meet the business strategy.  Our competency framework can assist you to create an enterprise architecture capability.  If you already have such a capability and are in need of the right resources, we can supplement it with our very experienced and comprehensive resourcing offering.

Do you have the right enterprise architecture capability to add value to your business? Contact us today.