With Agile Architects, a brand-new initiative is being developed that aims to permanently reimagine Enterprise Architecture. A story in which employees are given the chance to, more than ever, take on a genuine ambassador’s role. Tom Callant and Evert Deweer, respectively Lead Solution en Lead Enterprise Architect at Agile Architects, explain why.
Agile Architects is a young, growing company. That growth also implies expanding your team. What can people expect from a job at Agile Architects?
Tom Callant (Managing Partner, Lead Solution Architect): “It’s essential that our frame of reference isn’t limiting to the people we recruit. Everyone needs to get the opportunity to put forward their ideas and initiatives. Autonomy and being able and willing to take responsibility are things we set great store by. We don’t believe in micromanagement at all. We want to give our people the confidence they need to prove themselves, to push the envelope.”
Evert Deweer (Managing Partner, Lead Enterprise Architect): “That’s right. Autonomy and appreciation of our employees are priorities. Agile Architects wants to be more than just a working environment. We aim to be a tight-knit community. A community where peers can collaborate, debate, and exchange ideas. That way, we want to create and stimulate knowledge cooperation and sharing around Enterprise Architecture.”
“We are quite open-minded about how people want to fill their positions within Agile Architects. Our current team consists of several permanent staff, but also a number of freelancers. The latter is a very conscious choice. Enterprise Architecture is a very specific knowledge domain. Many experienced profiles in the matter have already chosen to be self-employed, so why don’t cooperate and use that experience and knowledge.”
Tom: “The nature of someone’s contract says nothing about the value they can contribute. We always seek out projects where we can add value, but, conversely, the project also needs to offer something to our people.”
Does your agile mindset call for a specific type of people?
Tom: “Agile implies you build up as small as possible a set of valuable functionalities, demonstrate those straightaway, and ask for feedback. That way, you’ll immediately know if you’re on the right track and are creating value for the customer. That does mean it’s important that our collaborators really apply that vision to the projects and assignments they carry through. Of course, that requires a sense of responsibility, some testing of boundaries, and taking initiative. We give our people a lot of leeway, and we hope they embrace the responsibility they get. Once again, we’re looking for people who make Agile Architects stronger, enrich our culture.”
Agile Architects is part of the Cronos Groep. Does that hold any added value for your collaborators?
Tom: “Starting up something within the Cronos Groep comes with the advantage that you have this whole network already set up. You can set out from a more reactive position. That’s a conscious choice, by the way. But our objective goes beyond that, obviously. We’ll only feel we’ve succeeded once Agile Architects is no longer viewed as one of the Cronos entities, but as a well-established firm for all things Enterprise Architecture. For that, our architects will have to operate as true ambassadors.”
Evert: “There is also another important advantage to being part of such a large and qualitative network that is the Cronos Group. We always strive to match our people with suitable assignments, of course as far as possible. But we are firmly convinced that Agile Architects not only offers added value to its clients, but also to its own team.”
How do you maintain your connection to the team?
Tom: “An increasing number of our clients have evolved to hybrid working. Which enables us to work with our people that way too. Of course, keeping that connection alive is crucial. We really want our people to know who they’re working for. That’s why we resolutely aim for in-house knowledge sharing activities. In practice, that means we get together with the whole team once every month. That’s when we exchange experiences, show presentations, have discussions, and what have you. Of course, we try to organize enough informal gatherings, too. Having fun is and always will be important.”