Who pays the Bills?

Recently I applied for the IT Architect role at a large corporation who’s infrastructure can only be described as immense.  Having been out of the systems architecture market for about a year now, I decided to map my career against their requirements.  With a year out of the game, my interview must go off without a hitch.

What they’re looking for is a leader who is responsible for the overall technical architecture for all their business applications.  Someone who can take business operational needs and translate them into a technical blueprint.  I have to work closely with the application owners and the infrastructure teams in order to develop recommendations for the technical landscape.  I need to have a strong understanding of various technology platforms and database solutions, and finally I will serve as the primary point of contact with the infrastructure team.

“Who am I going to be working for?” is my first question.  As we are all often taught, ask do not assume.  So without having access to the hiring manager to find out, I looked to the description for answers.  Well, if I am the primary point man for the infrastructure team, then whom am I representing?  Turns out it is both the application owners and infrastructure team, but more the application owners.

Why one more than the other?  Simple, a good architect remembers who pays the bills.  While I will predominantly be working ‘with’ the infrastructure team, we all work ‘for’ those who pay the bills, the application owners.  This also means I have to communicate the infrastructure team’s capabilities, resources, schedule, and concerns to the application owners in order to have a harmonious system.  It all boils down to Business Continuity.

It did not take long for me to map my experience to their needs, and I’m a fit, but I will certainly have to explain this last year out of the market.  Simple answer is always the truth.

I spent three years working and architecting for a Federal Project and finally had enough of the planning, blueprinting, and prototyping what was not much more than an endless loop of wasteful spending.  I was preaching a good deal about terrible government waste as I participated in it.  Heck, I was using my own and related projects as examples and could no longer stand to be a hypocrite.  I worked for and with a great group of people who spent far more of their time getting permission to work than actually doing work.  Don’t get me wrong, I was there three years and we did a great deal of work.  It just turned out the result was mountains of paperwork about a system that is never to be completed.  Its scope is limitless.  Great for companies with Federal Contracts, terrible for tax payers.

So I left and started working on what our Government would look like if we used Business Continuity disciplines to reorganize it.  Politics was to be my future.  Government is just a collection of Application Owners and some Infrastructure Teams, right?  Not even close.

Government is a mish mash of application owners who claim the same resources, duplicate effort and expenses, and do everything in their power to grow larger.  That’s the brief description.

It’s infrastructure is like a net that has been repaired over and over again by amateurs guided by their department’s competition for the same resources.  These amateurs had no clue what the original net looked like, what it looks like today, or even how to tie proper knots.  Just get as much as you can seems to be the mission.

It is a mess.  It is hard to look at the government without wincing and thinking “what have we gotten ourselves into?”

Folks, we’re in a terrible mess, no doubt.   We all can point to evidence, but what can we do?

Is it too late to save this Republic from the Central Planners when there is not one Architect among them who remembers who they report to?  Who pays the bills?

No, it is not too late.  The End is Far, come join me in building a USA Continuity Plan.

Steve A Morris

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Posted in Central vs. Distributive Planning, Key Concepts

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