The importance of mentoring

English: Architect at his drawing board. This ...
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According to a recent survey by MIT Sloan Management Review, 60% of employees surveyed don’t have enough data to do their jobs. And it is not a technology challenge; but rather cultural and management. Not an entirely encouraging statistics in the context of the growing importance of the tertiary sector of our economies – information is key, especially if you work within the IT industry.

The survey reminded me about Nonaka, a professor in management research. According to him, we have two kinds of knowledge – explicit and tacit; and four knowledge processes (framed below in the context of software architecture):

  • From Tacit to Tacit – when a less experienced architect (or wannabe architect) observes a master architect in action; if your organisation has a shortage of good architects, then this one is important.
  • From Explicit to Explicit – an individual can combine separate pieces of information into a new whole, e.g., combining several architectural styles and patterns into a new, solution specific architecture. But explicit descriptions are only as good as people’s ability to read and understand them – i.e., the tacit knowledge the reader is assumed to possess. Continue reading “The importance of mentoring”