Solution Discussions and Your Perspective

Have you ever been involved in a serious Solution Discussion? You know you have when the discussion appears slightly disjointed to listen to because some sentences just never get finished; not before the participants jump straight in to the deep end of the next related topic. It can be extremely annoying to be involved in one of these solution discussions and not have a level of understanding as deep as the people who are not finishing their sentences. However, don’t let that frustration turn into despair.

At the end of the day, there is no absolutely 100% correct solution. With quite a few of the available solutions you cannot even classify them as right or wrong. There will just be the solution that was chosen. When you start to take into consideration not only the business requirements and the tools that are used to implement the chosen solution, you may also need to look at project management expectations and sometimes even the available budget.

“you can offer a ‘user experience’ perspective
of the proposed solution”

Some solutions are awesome; at the same time, they’re not practical due to timing restrictions. The art of being a Solution Architect involves knowing how to find an appropriate balance between the available solutions and the constraints placed upon the delivery of that solution.

When you’re involved in a conversation that is getting quite annoying because you’re aware that you don’t have the same understanding of the pieces; please keep in mind that it is only for that specific paragraph or topic that is being discussed. You will find that your unique perspective, your understanding of both related and unrelated topics, will have an impact on the current discussion. Be patient.

Let some parts of the discussion go without being too involved. You will find that just by listening and letting go of any frustration, you will be able to pick up and learn from the discussion; even if it’s just some question that you take away from it to investigate later.

What you will find is that there comes a point in the conversation where you are able to contribute based on your perspective of the environment. For example, you might not fully appreciate the complexities of optimizing ABAP code and how this relates directly to maintainability, post go-live.

So you’re annoyed; you do not quite understand the full detail of that exact topic and that is ok. The conversation will definitely move on, it will be nothing more than a small section of the entire SAP BW solution discussion.

“be patient, as listening is one of the key success
factors to discovering what you do not know”

What you will find is that you will have a wealth of knowledge and experience as someone who uses ‘Solutions’ on a daily basis. You will actually find you can contribute to the tail end of that discussion based upon your experiences on what has and has not worked. Ask yourself: What have I found frustrating about the specifics of “ABAP code that has been added to a solution that ends up becoming unmaintainable”? In this example, what is the pain point created by the code and what would be the preferred solution(s)?

Bingo, your unique perspective has now contributed to the solution discussion. Whilst you did not know directly about the details of that exact paragraph of the discussion, you are able to contribute to the bigger picture and that is part of the art of being a Solution Architect.

Ask yourself “Does my judgement of my experience, matter?”. No matter how you judged that experience, whether you deem it useless or great, the judgement should not matter. You will have a wealth of experience on everything you’ve done so far, whether those jobs have succeeded or failed, whether the project finished or got cancelled, it doesn’t matter.

What does matter is the understanding and perspective gained from that experience, without judgement.

One key aspect of becoming a good Solution Architect is to keep an open mind and to let go of any frustrations of the experiences. Get out of your own way and move forward with your new perspective.

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