James Governor's Monkchips

Great advice for IT Architects (and everyone else for that matter)

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At the risk of looking like a mutual admiration society, I have to say that the Hartford‘s prodigious blogger, troublemaker and open source maven James McGovern has put forward some solid advice for IT architects, to help change your organisation for the better
Here is a sample:

Be respectful. Don’t ever look down at anybody, no matter what, not even in the privacy of your thoughts. A differing opinion does not mean ignorance and ignorance does not mean stupidity. Think of this not as a problem but an opportunity.

Be careful with vocabulary. Jargon that means something positive to you might mean something different and negative to someone else. For example, “iteration” might mean “continual refinement” to you and “rework due to poor planning” to your audience.
Talk slowly. Explain ideas in a calm, measured tone of voice. Sometimes technical people speak at ten miles a minute, particularly when they’re excited about an idea. Your tone should denote “wisdom of the ages” rather than “geeky excitement.”  
In terms of being careful with vocabulary, IT folk please understand: language is a communications mechanism, not a mapping of objects in the “real” world. Describing something as hype doesn’t negate it. If a term changes behaviours then it has value.
Terminology invariably contains assumptions. We should think about those assumptions when we try and communicate with people in other communities. One man’s cartoon is after all another man’s mortal insult.
I may not be an architect, but according to some recent feedback I need to work on how I present myself. Apparently when you talk fast and passionate it can be confused with insecurity… But surely not everyone can manage wisdom of ages, or Oxford University professor?
What do you think: would I have more credibility if I talked slowly, wore tweeds and slippers and smoked a pipe?


  1. “What do you think: would I have more credibility if I talked slowly, wore tweeds and slippers and smoked a pipe?”

    I don’t think I’ve ever heard you speak so can’t answer the specific question.

    However, I’ve long thought that an ability to speak slowly, clearly, concisely and confidently is a predictor of 90% of one’s success in life.

    Sadly, I have a lot of work to do on the slow, concise and clear piece 🙂

  2. interesting questions of “voice”.

    can one blog slowly?

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