What personal characteristics, knowledge, and skills are most commonly found in effective enterprise architects? Although not at all intuitive, several traits are even more important than knowledge of enterprise architecture.

Characteristics of an effective enterprise architect

What personal characteristics, knowledge, and skills are most commonly found in effective enterprise architects? Although not at all intuitive, several traits are even more important than knowledge of enterprise architecture.

META Trend: Enterprise architecture (EA) success will be determined by the extent to which corporate and line-of-business managers comprehend, support, and enforce the architecture. By 2006, 10% of EA core teams will move out from under the IT organization’s management structure, with direct reporting relationships to either corporate strategy or corporate change management functions. By 2008, 40% of enterprise architects will have primary expertise in business strategy or process engineering.

As the discipline of enterprise architecture has broadened beyond technical architecture in recent years to include business, information, and solution architecture, deep technical expertise is even less essential – and can be a liability if the individual has a ‘favorite’ vendor/product. TextClients often ask what characteristics to seek when recruiting (internally or externally) full-time architects or part-time members for the architecture team or the architecture review board. Too often, research indicates, individuals in these positions lack several key characteristics, traits, knowledge areas, or skills most essential for success in the enterprise architect role. Why is this true? IT managers often assume that the best technical experts will naturally make great architects. This is simply not the case. As the discipline of enterprise architecture (EA) has broadened beyond technical architecture in recent years to include business, information, and solution architecture, deep technical expertise is even less essential – and can be a liability if the individual has a “favorite” vendor/product. The most effective enterprise architects have numerous strengths, which are even more important than their EA knowledge.

To select the right people, hiring managers and EA team leaders must understand the most important competencies to seek in enterprise architect candidates. We have observed that the wrong people attempting to apply the right process will still struggle to make it work. It is critical to spend time engaging the right people for this important function. As the META Trend states, by 2008, 40% of enterprise architects will have primary expertise in business strategy or process engineering and may no longer be found within the IT organization. This reflects the rising importance of the enterprise business architecture and the need for a more balanced skill set (beyond technical architecture).

Key Characteristics of Enterprise Architects

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