An article entitled “Why today’s software engineer needs a mix of technical, leadership skills” recently appeared in the Austin Business Journal. The author, Jeffrey Palermo, CEO of Austin-based Clear Measure Inc., argues the need (and shortage) of “professionals who can expertly bridge the chasm between business and technology to take their companies to the next level. “ He goes on to say that “software architects need to lead the conversation and ensure that the software and business teams are speaking the same language.”
We wholeheartedly agree. Our clients and companies across the globe are facing this challenge, as the type of talent Mr. Palermo has identified is a major gap in their leadership pipelines. We are working with our clients to craft programs that will develop in these talented technologists the ability to think strategically and demonstrate leadership not only within the traditional STEM functions but across the entire business organization.
These architect programs have some common core components:
Formal Career-Pathing – The organizations have identified the “ideal” career path that the architects and technologists will have followed, calling out specific experiences that will have occurred and competencies acquired.
Individualized Development Plans – Personalized roadmaps that identify gaps in the development of each of the technologists so that job assignments and training opportunities may be strategically picked to fill those gaps.
Strong Executive Sponsorship – Senior level executives play an important role in opening doors for budding technical leaders to obtain quality job assignments for their personal development as well as acting as mentors along the way.
In addition to these core components, both coaching and training provide foundational support. Training opportunities may be a combination of customized internal training programs designed to target specific objectives with external conferences and summits that allow exposure to industry thought leaders and clients. Coaches may include both internal technical experts who are further in their careers as well as external coaches who a different perspective and mindset.
These architect programs not only provide the important developmental experiences for the technologists but they also serve as a valuable retention tool for in-demand talent that is already in-house. When your top employees and future leaders feel valued by the organization and there is a clear continued opportunity and pathway to grow and develop, it becomes much more difficult for a competitor to lure away these absolutely critical resources.