Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Details vs Context

In my last post I was writing about walking the talking, which is based on my experience one of the key elements for success. Some time ago I have written about the need to remember the larger context which is also reflected in my WISE SCAN post (E stands for Environment). So it is essential to connect a solution in the context to secure sustainable success and not rely on random luck. The saying: "To not see the wood for the trees" is also based on that line of thinking.

The interesting challenge now is to not get lost in the greater context and by that forgetting to chop the trees. I have seen many Enterprise Architects loosing contact to reality and connecting literally everything to a problem or solution at hand but totally forgot to deliver the solution. The intellectual discussion with them was actually truly great and I learned a lot (this happened many many times), but pity enough it wasn't very relevant.
I believe it carries the very same danger to not deliver than getting lost in the details, but does contain an additional problem. Those who get lost in the context loose credit due to not delivering, while those who get lost in the details are typically valued for their great knowledge, but questioned about their communication skills.

So my advice (and I try to live up to that every day) is: deliver while connecting, connect while delivering. Don't think something fully through, but connect it good enough. Fail often and fail fast. And secure that the whole environment is setup to support that. If not, then fix the information flow, fix the GLUE Circulatory Flow, so that information flows free, is easy accessible, enriched fast and supports collision of ideas.

And in most cases the answer lies in the people who are operating in the GLUE Circulatory System. They are the elements which needs to be worked on to secure information flow. Technology can be a catalyzer or facilitator but is typically not the key element to secure optimal information flow. Balancing details and context is an ongoing challenging task which mainly operates on people and their ability to connect details with context. Various Enterprise Architecture tools help here a lot, but what is most successful is finding the right words for the right people to connect the details and the context via an emotional holistic story touching all senses. Tough one, but there is moments of perfect flow in life. And those moments are the reason why I deeply love my job.

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