Trust, value, communicating, storytelling and selling and are key components of a successful Enterprise Architecture practice

By Steve Force

I am a firm believer selling is a key component of enterprise architecture. Why selling you might ask? Simple. If we cannot sell our ideas to the decision makers, what value are we truly adding to the organization? To me, trust, value, communicating, storytelling, and selling are key components of any successful enterprise architecture practice.

To me, the notion of selling within the Information Technology discipline is not new. In fact, for many years I have been a follower of Stephen Covey, Neil Rackham, Mahan Khalsa, and more recently, Raj Ramesh, to name a few.

  • Neil Rackham  – SPIN Selling (abbreviated to Situation, Problem, Implication, Need) – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neil_Rackham
    • “It’s important to be clear about your objectives when you approach people at the focus of receptivity. Calls to people who are purely receptive—which is a way of saying that they are not dissatisfied, and they don’t have decision power—tend to be most successful if your strategic aims are to find out information about the account and the people in it and to gain access to others in the account who are located at the focus of dissatisfaction.” 
      ― Neil Rackham, https://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/782532
  • Raj Ramesh
    • How to Master the Art of Storytelling –  as described in this YouTube video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=357t2QLTVD4&list=RDCMUCbojg-FJgI1L6iLWUzgcsww&index=9

”Business architects research, understand, synthesize, and model a lot of information about business and technology. While these are critical, if we don’t communicate them well to our audiences, then the end result might be poor. So, communication and storytelling is a critical skill that we need to develop and learn. How do you tell craft compelling pieces? In this video, I share some of my experiences and what has worked for me. You might adapt some of these techniques but play to your strengths on what comes naturally to you to craft stories in your unique way.”

“The imperative of enhancing communication between business and IT stakeholders yields numerous practical suggestions conducive to the quality of decision-making in an EA practice and, eventually, to business and IT alignment. Even though these suggestions are very diverse and cover various aspects of an EA practice, the three major target areas include EA-related processes, documents and governance procedures. The respective suggestions can be best formulated as questions, answers to which should be sought by architects, all of which can be clearly traced to the common goal of improving communication.”

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