EA movie promo: In a world full of mistrust and hate, one man’s fight for justice. Certification – now playing in an IT Organization near you.
There are more people practicing IT without a license than psychics in America. There is more quackery in Enterprise Architecture than gurus and swamis in India. So how do you separate the wheat from the chafe? How do you present your credentials with confidence and get the respect you deserve as a practitioner?
That, unfortunately, is the $64,000 question in most things related to the IT profession. Enterprise Architecture is no exception.
Often, the response in such situations is certification. Certified public accountants. Certified financial advisors. Certified IT security experts. Certified this and certified that. If certification and degrees could absolutely portend the capability of an individual how do you explain a Harvard MBA bankrupting America the way he is? How do you explain “board certified” doctors who leave scissors in patients’ stomachs? How do you explain Enron?
The list of certifiable blunders is as long as certified professionals. Nothing, in my opinion, is a guarantee of capability in complex fields such as IT – Enterprise Architecture does not lend itself to this solution any more than anything else.
Then we fall back upon “experience.” People look for past accomplishment as a gauge of future results. Nothing could be more dangerous. History is replete with examples of “experienced” professionals making a mess of things they profess to have “extensive” experience in. A Robert McNamara – who, apparently, also had an 800 on GMAT – gave us Vietnam. A Dick Cheney has given us Iraq. In IT experienced professionals have given us a 50%+ waste in ROI – with no end in sight.
I have seen some real tools who pass themselves off as Enterprise Architects. They are no less in numbers than tools who pass themselves as CIO! We all have to do what we have to do to make a living so I do not hold anything against them. It is the rest of us who have to wake up and take notice – protect ourselves from these monkeys with swords
at the same time make sure than their incompetence does not reflect on or diminish our capability and accomplishments.
As a CIO, before you hire or promote an Enterprise Architect, you do not have a choice but to look at some certification or experience but do not take them at face value – “trust but verify.” Probe the certification. Challenge the experience. Most importantly, do not “fire and forget” – evaluate on the job performance; link pay to performance; stop disasters before they happen. Yes, governance is the name of the game here too.
As an Enterprise Architect you may not have an option but to get certified. You are what you eat so your experience is also very important. But do not live on your past laurels – insist on mechanisms that keep you honest. This is not an issue of trusting you. It is an issue of protecting your investment in your career.
An open, honest governance process, linked to employee performance evaluation process, that monitors and controls Enterprise Architecture – including the Enterprise Architects – is in the best interests of the CIO, Enterprise Architecture professionals and most importantly the shareholders in the corporation.