Tim O'Brien, the Network Manager for Ferguson and Bardell, poked his head into the CIO's office. "You wanted to see me, Dan?" he started to say, and then realized that the office was empty.
He was turning to leave when he heard a scuffling noise, followed by grunting and more scuffling. Either Dan Shelly had trapped a gorilla under his desk, or there was someone in his office.
Tim advanced into the room slowly, not wanting to be too far from the exit because of the gorilla possibility. He heard the grunting again and realized it came from between the desk and the credenza. He moved around the desk, and there, sitting on the floor, was his boss.
Dan pulled a cardboard box from the bottom of the credenza, then grunted as he lifted out a stack of manila folders and dropped them into his lap. He scanned the titles of the folders and glanced into some of them, but apparently couldn't find what he was looking for. With a gesture of disgust, he added the folders to a growing pile beside him and reached for another set.
Tim couldn't remember when he had ever seen a CIO in such a position. "But, that's Dan," he thought. Not much for pretense when there was work to be done. Tim leaned against the wall and grinned. "I've already cleaned all the lottery tickets out of there, if that's what you're looking for."
Without looking up, Dan replied, "Huh! Wish what I was looking for was as easy to find as a winning lottery ticket." He looked at the last folder in the box, made another sound of disgust, and threw it onto the stack on the floor. Getting up and brushing himself off, he turned to Tim. "Is there anywhere else in this building where they might have stashed information about EA?"
Tim prided himself on keeping up with the industry and its acronyms, but this one stumped him. He knew ET, CNA, and a bunch of others that were close, but EA? Not a clue. He decided to play along. "Uhm, which EA would that be, Dan?"
"The one for Ferguson and Bardell, of course," replied Dan as he put the folders away and kicked the box back into the credenza. Straightening up, he saw the confusion on Tim's face and said, without condescension, "Enterprise Architecture, Tim. I'm looking for something on Ferguson and Bardell's Enterprise Architecture."
"Oh, that," said Tim, relieved he didn't have to guess anymore. Of course, he still had to pretend that he knew what it meant. "I don't think we have one of those."
Dan laughed. "No, Tim, we have one. We just don't seem to have it documented anywhere. Which, by the way, I suspected all along, and which is why I asked you to stop by."
He shut the credenza door and sat down at his desk, motioning for Tim to sit opposite him. "Here's the situation, Tim. We're going to be starting some major projects around here over the next year or so. Before we can start, though, we need to get an idea of what we have and why we have it. In short, we need to document our enterprise architecture, or at least make a first cut at it."
Dan pulled a folder out of his desk and opened it. "I'm putting together an inter-disciplinary team that is going to take no more than two months to do a first draft of our EA and to recommend our first set of projects." He glanced at his calendar and said, "Today is February 22. The kickoff is next Monday, March 1. I want someone from your area, someone sharp who knows our technology infrastructure well, and whom you would like to put on an important project—either because he or she needs the experience, or likes a challenge. Can you think of someone who meets those criteria?"
Tim grinned. "Well, I know one guy who fits that profile exactly: sharp, knows the place, likes a challenge—me!"
But Dan shook his head. "No, Tim, you're not the right person for this team. I want someone else from your group." Seeing the crestfallen look on Tim's face, Dan continued in a more gentle tone, "Don't be too disappointed, Tim. I've got another project coming up that's going to be both big and important, and your name is already on the list."
Tim brightened up somewhat when he heard that. "That's good. I wouldn't want the young bucks to get all the credit around here!" He and Dan both laughed; Tim's youth was a regular source of kidding around the department.
Tim thought a moment and then said, "There's that woman we added last fall, about the time you came aboard. You know, the one whose name you never can get right."
"You mean Jenny? Jenny Flute, or Jenny Alto, or … shoot, what is her name?"
"Jenny Sax, Dan—Sax, like saxophone. She's doing good work with the network on her shift, and I've noticed that she has already memorized almost all the fixed IP addresses we have. She seems to have a knack for detail and for documentation, and—well, her brain just seems better organized than most of ours. If I understand what you're looking for, I think she would be perfect."
"She sounds like it," said Dan. "Can you spare her for this? It will mean about ten hours a week, possibly more."
"It'll mean some adjustments, but we'll handle it. Besides, it'll make her a better resource later on, and it's only for two months."
Dan was pleased at Tim's response. It was exactly what he had hoped his young Network Manager would say. Tim was already showing the kind of take-care-of-your-people attitude that made good leaders. Dan stood and walked Tim to the door of his office. "Thanks for your willingness to help out, Tim. Ask Jenny to stop by later today so I can go over the assignment with her. And be watching your e-mail as well. I'll be announcing the other big project within the next week or so."
As Tim said goodbye and left, Dan stood in the doorway of his office, thinking. "That's one good one on the team," he mused. "Sure hope the other managers see the value in this and send me good people as well. Otherwise," he reflected as he turned back to his desk, "this EA project is going to be like lots of others I've seen—all technology and no business."