I’ve been home on holiday for a few days now (since just before Christmas).  It’s nice to stay with my kids, even though my wife goes off to work each day.  It is a great opportunity for some good one-on-one time with each of them.  Max loves to play Yu-Gi-Oh (and he nearly always beats me now).  Andy wants to show me his newest roller coaster on RCT3, and Katrina, my angel, is at that wonderful age where she still begs to be tickled and picked up.  I’m a very lucky man.

Microsoft IT has seen a lot of change this year, and I’ve been in the “thick” of much of it.  We got a new COO in August (Kevin Turner from WalMart) and a new CIO in July (Stuart Scott from GE).  Ron M moved over to work on something new, leaving Stuart to completely reshape IT with his vision of “One IT for One Microsoft”.  The shift has been radical, and it is still under way. 

And, at the center of Stuart’s vision: a strong role for three forces: six sigma, enterprise architecture, and EPMO, in no particular order.  It is an excellent time to be in the enterprise architecture team.

For me, it is another year in a long saga.  I started writing simple programs in 1979.  I got hired to work with computers in 1980.  I’ve worked in computing ever since (with a break of a year as an exchange student in Scotland).  I’ve hired into many companies, and hired many people after me.  I’ve always said that I can lay out the last 25 years on a timeline and taking any two-year window, I will not be able to find a single window when I ended doing the same work as when I started. 

When I came to Microsoft, almost two years ago, from consulting, I was living in the world of EDI, Biztalk, and the HIPAA regulations that were taking effect in the medical insurance industry.  I jumped in and took on workflow, developing a “lightweight workflow” system that will inevitably be phased out as the new Workflow techology in Vista matures. 

So this year began with workflow.  Then came content management as I was assigned to lead the development of an integration layer on a content management package.  Then, in summer, I moved over to Enterprise Architecture.  That was the biggest change.

Instead of taking lots of time on Scrum and Design Patterns, SOA and TDD, I’ve become more and more concerned with strategic alignment, project portfolio management, and the allocation of capabilities to a mix of systems over time.  As before, I end this year doing work that is entirely different than what I was doing when the year began.

And I’m loving it.  It is chaotic at times.  Frustrating on occasion, but never, ever boring.  I am working with fantastically intelligent and thoughtful people whose opinion I hold higher than my own most of the time.  I feel genuine gratitude to have the opportunity to make change with people who believe in looking to the future. 

So a few notes of thanks as this year comes to a close.  No particular order. 

Kathy: Your leadership and your tenacity have made this opportunity possible.  A million times: Thank you.
Tony: You backed me when I really needed backing.  If I do anything right this year, it will be in large part due to you.
Pat J: If I make a difference for any one person, it is for you.  Your support means a great deal to me.  Thank you.
Mike, Mo, Brian C, Curt H: I’ve learned a lot from each of you, and look forward to learning more.
Information Architects: You make your work look easy, but I know it is not.  Without you, progress is impossible. 
Technical Architects: Your work is tough, important, and too-often-unsung.  Keep up the good work.
Fellow App Architects: There are now too many of us to really go into details here (without missing someone).  Special thanks to Pete for the templates.  I’m really having a blast working with each of you.
Scott, Denis, Maher, Elizabeth, Brian B, Todd, Krishna, Nanda: I’m soaring with eagles… that’s all I can say.
Pat F, Al, Mike A, John, Kent, Pablo, Viady, Kurt, Sujatha, Poonam, Nilesh R, and all the Shasta folks: Sheer raw talent mixed with passion, excellence, and a real committment to quality.  I am honored to be part of this team.

Happy New Year to each and every one.

By Nick Malik

Former CIO and present Strategic Architect, Nick Malik is a Seattle based business and technology advisor with over 30 years of professional experience in management, systems, and technology. He is the co-author of the influential paper "Perspectives on Enterprise Architecture" with Dr. Brian Cameron that effectively defined modern Enterprise Architecture practices, and he is frequent speaker at public gatherings on Enterprise Architecture and related topics. He coauthored a book on Visual Storytelling with Martin Sykes and Mark West titled "Stories That Move Mountains".

2 thoughts on “Recollections on a year of change…”
  1. NickMalik:

    I have been following your blogs since you wrote about Workflows and Levels of Abstraction. Reading this blog, perhaps explains why you did not continue your contribution. I sent you a detaied email on my thoughts. If I recollect correctly, sometimes emails get lost as junk mails. Hence, I am posting this comment here. My email is Sunnysarphare@gmail.com

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