Bring back a focus on situational awareness
Our Book of the Month has as a central theme ‘double awareness’. That is, about maintaining a simultaneous focus on task and process – what we do and what we notice. As Svalgaard says, “double awareness is not only a core capacity but also a core challenge”.
Svalgaard continues the argumentation from Donald Schön, who wrote about reflective activity, knowing in action and reflection in action. His book The Reflective Practitioner from 1984 had a strong influence on me when I studied engineering in the late 1980s. It taught me that “double-loop learning” is essential to improving our practices.
This is true for many professions, but I think it is especially true for us enterprise architects. We must always be aware of what we do and what we notice. Thus we must be reflective in our actions, all the time.
Enterprise architects must constantly and continuously reflect in their actions and on people’s reactions to those actions (so both reflection-in-action and reflection-on-action). Too many architects tend to go overboard in techno-babble and abstractions that few if any others understand. What is worse is that they are often ignorant to the reactions from others.
It is time to bring back a focus on situational awareness. Situational awareness entails being fully attuned to the context, understanding the dynamics at play, and considering the perspectives and reactions of others. By cultivating situational awareness, enterprise architects can bridge the gap between subject matter expertise and effective communication, ensuring their work resonates with the wider audience. Enterprise architects must become better at “reading the room” and adapt on-the-fly to challenges and opposition. Stakeholders are predictably-unpredictable. Therefore, improvisation and experimentation must be embraced.
This means that the catalogue of skills an enterprise architect should have is growing. In our EA certification, we have started to include these issues and themes to reflect on the changing times.
Read more about our book of the month here.