Last week I asked if you think simplification negatively impacts business value. This week I would like to talk about 3 keys to effective communication.
Don’t let communication be a barrier to the success of Enterprise Architecture (EA) in your organization. I think the fundamental reason that EA does not evoke positive thoughts within an organization is because enterprise architects can be and often are very poor at communication.
Think about it this way, what is the primary vehicle for the business to communicate with their peers? PowerPoint is far and away the most common method of communication, but enterprise architects don’t typically use PowerPoint for communication. We like to express our ideas and visions through models which automatically create a disconnection between EA and the business.
It’s really easy to say that the business needs to figure it out and that it is not our problem, but that won’t get us very far.
Remember when you were little and you would ask your parents if you could go to the high school football game with your friends? You had to give them details of who you were going with, how you were going to get there, and when you would be home. What if you just said you wanted to go and they needed to figure out the rest? I can assure you that you would not be going to the football game!
EA needs to communicate with the business in a way that is easy for them to understand.
I think we can all agree that PowerPoint can be a very effective medium for communication, but when you see people with ginormous 90+ slide presentations the first thing that comes to mind is “Great, this will be a big snoozefest!”
We are creators, we are change agents, we are Enterprise Architects and we should innovate on the way we communicate. No one said we have to stick to boxes and lines right?
As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, but that doesn’t mean we need to give the business a picture with boxes and lines. If you do then the thousand words that come to a business person’s mind are not appropriate for me to say here. I’m just saying… What if we get really crazy and present pictures that evoke emotion and allow the business to put themselves in the picture and understand it right away? Intact has been drawing these illustrations for our customers as outputs from hearing them describe their business problems. It has been very effective and I know we can apply it to the way EA and business communicate. There are two examples below. What are your thoughts?
There are 3 keys to ensuring successful communication.
- Know your audience
- Communicate with a tool that your audience knows or can easily understand with little explanation
- Don’t be a tool bigot
By following these, you can be an effective communicator by playing to the strengths of your audience and being open to various tools as communication mediums depending on your audience. At the end of the day, EA may still not evoke positive thoughts in your organization, but at least it won’t be for poor communication!
See you next week, same time, same place.