Is there anyone really in charge?

I thought the way Seth Godin talked about this really made a lot of sense. In his post, “Hire an architect,” (read it!) Seth talks about the need for someone who gets the “system,” irrespective of whether they know how to do/make every little part. People in our industry often lose a lot of respect from their peers, bosses, and reports because they can’t roll their sleeves up and do every little part. And that’s potentially very silly.

Most businesses seem to have rejected the presence of a central player who really is in control of the vision. Maybe it’s the “everyone’s a winner” mentality that we’ve somehow decided is productive: where we matrix-manage an organization so that no department is a true consumer or superior of another. Well, that’s just not how a business works, and it certainly isn’t how an effective web operation works. Teams need accountability to goals outside of their own little world, and those goals should be shared across the organization. SEO nirvana can’t be the most important part of a web site. Neither can user experience nirvana. Nor display advertising nirvana. Each of these nirvanas poops on another nirvana, so balance is what is required. A site is a portfolio of tactics, and we need portfolio managers. And those portfolio managers need to figure out how to create incentives, workflows, and compensation plans that align teams to the central purpose, so everyone can still indeed be a winner, but on more productive terms.

Have you seen good architects? How do those businesses embrace this role or function? Where is analytics in the mix? Let’s surface those who do it right so we can copy the hell out of them!


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