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Business-Driven Architect

Brenda Michelson

From the Archives: IT Fundamental Truths

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This morning, while I was searching through a box of old papers, I ran across a list of "IT Fundamental Truths" I wrote for a direct report five or six years ago. At the time, this (immensely talented) person, who was new to IT, was frustrated by all the grey areas she kept running into.

While not every item on the following list is a winner, the essence holds up over time. I'm curious what others think. What would you add to the list? Remove?

Although I'm tempted to edit for (lack of) writing style, here is the list, exactly as first "published":

IT Fundamental Truths

1. IT work is all about Compromise, some of the factors:

Add Value to the Business

Respond to ever changing business, economic and technology environments

We are often bounded by our legacy (assets, skills, fixed costs)

There is enormous value in the skill of compromise, balancing challenges to create opportunity

2. IT success relies on collaboration, alliance building, and salesmanship. IT professionals must develop professional as well as technical skills.

3. Negotiation is critical - for financial contracts and internal customer relationship/service level agreements, meeting truth #1.

4. Never prematurely discount the work of those that came before you. (See #1, 2, 15)

5. "Big Bang" is most successful when you are starting from nothing.

6. Anything that works in production is legacy.

7. Continuous learners are most successful.

8. Systems thinking ability is critical, as are the abilities to think conceptually and deal with ambiguity.

9. Current State is a representation of assets at a point in time.

10. Desired State is a representation of ideas at a point in time. Desired state should plan for adaptability. (See #16)

11. You don't have to know everything in advance. You do have to know where to find the information you need. Just in time learning.

12. Always ask questions, brace yourself for any answer or non-answer.

13. Best doesn't always win at the end of the day.

14. Think big, think broad, act pragmatically, deliver incrementally. (See #1, 5, 6, 9, 10, 16)

15. In requirements gathering "never" means "not yet", "always" means "most often".

16. There will ALWAYS be something more important/pressing tomorrow than the most important/pressing item you are working on today.

17. Everyday the domain you are trying to solve and the tools and techniques you are trying to solve the domain with, changes.

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10 Links for 7/11/06 from Architect's Linkblog on July 11, 2006 10:30 PM

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Brenda Michelson, Principal of Elemental Links, shares her view on architectural strategies, technology trends, business, and relevance.

Brenda Michelson

Brenda Michelson is the principal of Elemental Links an advisory & consulting practice focused on business-technology capabilities that increase business visibility and responsiveness. Follow Brenda on Twitter.

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