Evangelizing with Architecture

I?m pleased to announce that I?ve taken a position as Chief Evangelist at EnterpriseWeb. More good news: I?m also going to continue to blog for DevX.

It wouldn?t be fair, however, to talk about EnterpriseWeb in this blog. I will have plenty of opportunities for that elsewhere. But shifting from the consulting and advisory side of the architecture business to the software vendor side does afford me the opportunity to bring a new perspective to this blog, and to Agile Architecture in general.

After all, the role of the technical evangelist falls within the sphere of marketing: creating and communicating a message to an audience. In fundamental ways, that?s also the role of the architect. In both cases, there are two separate and related conversations that both evangelists and architects must be able to conduct. The first is ?reality? and the second is ?perception.?

The ?reality? conversation focuses on what the system in question really is, what it really does, and how it really works. Without the reality, all you have is hand-waving ? and there is plenty of hand-waving in both marketing and architecture.

The ?perception? conversation focuses on the messaging. What do we say about what we do. We need?to communicate the value proposition, key differentiators, and instill a level of trust and credibility with our respective audience.

These two conversations are separate but have important interrelationships. They must be consistent with each other, and the reality must in the final analysis drive the perception.

But most audiences don?t need or want to hear the reality ? especially right away. Why people should care is far more important than what the technology actually does.

It should come as no surprise, therefore, that I?m approaching my new role as an architect, essentially building a semantic model for the language we want to use, both the reality and the perception. After all, this is the kind of puzzle that architects live for.

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