How Xentity finds top talent

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Xentity has a brand in presenting top-talent to and vetting top-talent for clients across the globe. Given such, a great amount of the credit goes to executing the proper vetting process and selecting top quality staff and partners to assist in such.  

Our interview process goal is to find top talent, not just someone looking for another job

Our brand is our staff and how they execute deliverables. Our clients and partners rely on us to find top talent. Our interview process primary focus is to vet the candidate’s capability to learn quickly, test the motivations of the candidate to learn, and assure they have the skills necessary to competently interface with and deliver quality, on-time work for the client. We are not interviewing your past, but what can you do for us in the near future.

Xentity management has executed, studied, and developed this process since prior to Xentity’s official inception. Xentity has enhanced its process by leveraging human resource expertise built from large companies and independent consulting advisory to help assure compliance in human resource approaches while uniquely qualifying candidates for a small consultancy. By blending the two, this brings superior merits over traditional human resource process techniques.

Specifically for boutique professional firms such as Xentity with highly talent needs, we seek unique individuals who can demonstrate they thrive on entrepreneurial spirit while providing a team environment at Xentity and appropriately with the client team. This process proves its superiority by testing the learning curve for intellectual, self-motivational, and technical know-how needed that the human resource process – which focuses on the past, resume metadata, buzzword interviews, and content-lacking polished presentation – lacks. The risks involved in an inadequately filled or open position can result in lost revenue from delayed time to market, applying the wrong solutions, poor customer service impacting brand, lost opportunities, reduced staff morale, and more. To stay competitive in today’s market, key positions must be filled quickly and correctly. A business cannot afford the risks of a vacant position or a position filled with an individual unable or unwilling to meet tomorrow’s requirements.

For example, in this space, a recent forum on enterprise architecture discussed the lack of success by human resource departments for hiring enterprise architects. The HR department used resume keyword search which found candidates, the interviewer knew the buzzwords, and typical enterprise architects have a superior presentation skill and are experts in metadata (i.e. tagging for work, so their resumes are tagged well) than many technical workers. Given this, the human resource process did its job, yet still delivered an ineffective human resource.

The HR process checked for technical qualities, but not for true demonstration of leadership and consulting competencies which is a large bulk of architecture and management consulting. At the same time, management consultancies check for interpersonal and motivational foundation skills as well as more savvy people and coalition-building skills, but tend to allow just-in-time learning as technique to see if they can learn the architecture and methods. That in itself is not bad, but that means that they would be learning the methods/tools as well as client-domain at the same time, which is a very, very difficult task to achieve.

Given this, Xentity uses a competencies-based approach that validates that the candidate, though has many years of experience, can, while meeting basic pre-requisites, can work in a new environment on different lines of business, different socio-political factors in the environment, all the while handling problems and excited about being challenged. This approach flushes out examples of the transformational leadership characteristics needed that take years of experience of focused investment and growth. The cultural approach focuses much more on leadership side of enterprise architect over the analyst skillset side of architecture such as modeling tools, methods, frameworks which is more easily learned and rapidly taught. Finally, we look to prove the thought process and approach towards varying subject matter and industry domains.

This process tests the leadership qualities along side the analyst qualities in interviews that are intended ask the interviewee to:

  • demonstrate, not simply survey, through showing their portfolio, discussing the “mock” deliverable, 
  • perform individual technical exercises with “on the fly” adjustments as well as team exercises testing different interactions styles. 
  • capture leadership quality scores against competency models, that after hiring for those candidates, would be used to form initial performance goals for reviews. Furthermore, seeking promotions thereafter is directly tied into that same leadership scoring against the competency model. By connecting to the performance objectives, this then allows the candidate turned new employee to immediately enact the ramp-up plan.

If the candidate can simply show they committed to learn, learned, and for what they didn’t learn yet, can show they can learn on the fly, it exhibits they can rapidly adjust to the new context.

With that, Xentity is proud to present its candidates with strong competitive, compensation and long-term engagements to assure that conducting the process rewards the candidate as well as the client.

IT Footprint Progression in the Federal Government… and the role of Architecture

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edited by
Matt Tricomi

In early December 2011, Xentity architects had a chance to discuss future progression with OMB current and former Chief Architects. The following captures some of the concepts discussed for architecture in context of the overall IT progression in Federal Government both looking back at where IT has been, but given current initiatives, but could be further emphasized, integrated, or uncovered moving forward.

PDF: ITProgression-Policy-Arch-Role.pdf

Where IT has been

Organization Information Role

IT originally was built as a Federated cost center. IT moved into Agency Data Centers model for archive/records. Commerce Models of economy drove eGov without migrating IT to Service models. Govt swamped in the T of IT, haven’t got back to the I. 

Trained Workforce

IT Acquisition originally was about financing/leasing federated shared manufactured systems Then Client/Server came, which is solution architecture, and 1000s of stacks came. Acquisition never got trained or linked with EA, and engineering mostly got outsourced

Data Center Footprint

Federated Regional Centers moved to Mission Centers moving to Server Rooms due to 1000s of system configurations. Initial FDCCI will close 1/3 of the portfolio count, but other 2/3s will have high transition costs

Technology Stack

IT stack started monolithic and slowly moved into server tiers then into service components. Though reduced individual system develop. cost, O&M Total Cost of Ownership was ignored and system security and interoperability was low.

Recommendations Discussed

Organization Information Role

– Institutionalized Funding for Enabling G2G IT Services at GSA
– Position G2C Services as High-Available Service Centers
– Focus Mission on Data Services training on Data Lifecycle that allows Private, NGO, Citizens to build on top of
– Increase EA role in support of mission and policy analysts for depth reach back to increase new political appointee effectiveness and limit turnover/ takeover disruption

Trained Workforce

– Position EA as depth knowledge base for acquisition guidance reachback
– Train all 3 workforce components on Performance maturity, Common Stack Architecture, and FEA/FSAM v2
– Establish CIO and EA relationship formerly with Acquisition
– Retire ineffective, existing burden to demonstrate credibility, eating own dog food, and increase success chances

Data Center Footprint

– Increase CMMI/ITIL Requirements to lower O&M
– Continue FDCCI
– Guide 2nd Consolidation Phase through taking advantage of CPIC renewal or new system cycles to assure re-use of new platform or data services in new shared platform environments to avoid simple hardware/system “cowpath” migration

Technology Stack

– Establish a Common Stack Architecture to be cloud managed service platforms by Select Large Agencies, waived Large Programs, and GSA
– Manage a True Common Stack Portfolio definition and implementation status
– Target New Solutions and Existing Systems for collaborative evaluation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apple in the 80s and a local kid view on the Jobs-Sculley re-organization

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In the wake of Jobs resigning (again – first in ’85), I decided to look back on Apples formative years to becoming a powerhouse.

So as I tweeted today: “Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water, or do you want a chance to change the world?” http://bit.ly/r7dmMs #apple

I had a weird relationship with Apple in the 80s as somehow, a little podunk town in Maine was a bit involved in this Silicon Valley now behemoth.

Obviously, my Gen X was the target and I grew up on both DOS and Apple II (I know I will not win the IT nerd war with baby boomers on ENIACs and punch cards), but oddly enough, John Sculley summered in my tiny hometown in Maine which at the time was going through its empty factory phase. And when he became CEO at Apple, he became a legend of course.

I got into digital imagery in 1991 as he helped lure Kodak to build an imagery research center a stones throw from my high school. He, Kodak, and some of the Moms would hold school events near end of the year to promote or we got to visit and spend time with the researchers at this AMAZING facility. These plotters would be equivalent to what is still better in most offices or even Fedex today 20 years later. It was amazing, they had 500 MB on every computer and had HD monitors. And big designers would speak. I had not realized at the time, as I was an average unappreciative of opportunities teenager, but that is where I saw Edward Tufte first. I didn’t make the connection til recently that he was the same guy I went to see in Denver recently. I realized the root of why I hated hated powerpoint or slideware this long! At our school, of course we got Apple IIe’s upgraed to the black and white Macs very early, and I ate it all up. Flying Toasters were soon all the rage even before it went mainstream.

Sufficed to say, when you have local legends in a small town – which by the way, to re-engage the baby boomers, is where Peyton Place was based off, you know what I mean when we say we know the scuttlebutt about local celebrities. 

Heck, the town had always been that way. Watson, the founder of IBM, summered there ; Much later, Bob Metcalfe co-inventor of Ethernet, founder 3Com, Palm, etc. lived there for a long while. Artists, etc. Then there were us local folk who lived through the cold winters, in the double-wides, tromping through frigid cold and snow. So, it wasn’t uncommon for the Apple inner workings to be hallway fodder as some of the townfolk got summer winds of his inner battles (friends tended to his yachts or landscaped, that old chestnut). I had observed, as much as a distracted teenager could, his career, ergo, executive mgmt, off and on since a young buck and as well as later followed Gates similarly. Yeah, I had normal posters of Jordan, Magic, Spud Webb, Manute Bol, and the Sox on my wall too just like any other kid. Point being, it was neat to be over 200 miles from a large city, over 60 miles from a highway, and still feel connected to the bigthink.

 

There were some great things Sculley did when he took over Apple and some really dumb things as I recalled how I thought of it back then. A Decade later, I read “Insanely Great” myopy of Apple, and of course reading it was a mix of inside track connecting and realizing how much I missed between the lines. For instance, I recall certain undertones about Jobs, but I didn’t get them until I realized how he treated people. At the time, I knew more about the Steve Jobs and Bill Gates side of the Microsoft and Apple battles. I find for my work career now, I actually find the Sculley and Jobs (or now Cook and Jobs) difference more enlightening. And yes, as I connected the dots, I grew to dislike “Jobs character”, while admire his forward thinking. 

Anyhow – All that nostalgia aside – WHY IS THIS relevant, and why would Federal Government or any Management Executive care?

  1. You can read about how the lack of vision once Jobs left on this focus really killed Apple. Apple was NEVER about out-engineering Microsoft, or now Google, but instead of outpacing embedding their products with less features and fit into their ecosystem.
  2. It was obvious even then Apple followed aspects of the Gillette model for getting in the door with a slight twist. Instead of giving the handle away and selling razor blades, they gave major discounts or even free to schools, and later kids would buy their own for home. Brilliant. That has been their bread and butter ever since. Get them on their ecosystem and you won’t mind the extortionist level mark-up as you have been trained on their quality, hip, and other brand qualities. Just like any product allegiance concepts.
  3. It was clear if you stayed ahead on form factors to make ecosystem adoption easy, then people would forgive the higher price, and thus you could play with a much higher profit margin, which means you could get away with lack of discipline on product development
  4. But, the issue was, once Jobs was out of the picture, and someone else had to make up with that lack of discipline, margins crumble,s they had to reel internally on recouping on bad product management lifecycle, decisions, and especially coordinating with engineering struggled. 
  5. What you see is by the 90s, Sculley “ran the company into the ground” is how its written from an epic story of emerging business management greatness and some of the biggest flops. Mis-released of the Newton as they didnt understand timing of ecosystem adoption (way premature). 
  6. It was different than marketing a standing commodity like soda. That is where Jobs knew it. It was adapting to new forms and always designing to form over function. 

In all reality, maybe I am a sympathizer, I think he inherited a genius capitalist’s mess on the upswing, and as soon as marketshare dwindled, the emperor had no clothes, and Sculley was stuck dealing with the mess and was not setup with executive team to fight two situations – financials and innovation – at once. Cook began to hit that as well, but seems to have recovered (i.e. 12/2013 update: Apple maps: how Google lost when everyone thought it had won

So give the article a read, and consider how your organization tries to balance form over function and discipline design and management.

If you think worthy of fellow management executives, forward this on, and you can read about some of the management inner workings from Sculley’s angle (the side not being reported on, except that “he” fired Jobs). 

I read it again, and I was amazed at some of the parallels we’re going through right now in so many of our projects, perspective clients. It really is some fascinating soap opera lessons learned and insight for any executive. 

 

Ten Year look back – Xentity Web Sites

Blog post
edited by
Matt Tricomi

We turned 10! It was amazing looking back over the Corporate Biography and seeing all the transformations we have been a part of supporting in design, management, or outreach over the years. Using the internet wayback machine, a team member also pulled up some of our old web sites. Here is a fun look back at not only how our site changed with disruptions (wiki, mobile, forums, etc.) but as well as our mission and vision matured:

2014 to current

Simplifying the site’s 100 pages of content and moving to a much lighter content footprint. As well as using HTML5 for a Reponsive Web Design style tablets and smartphones. 

2011 to 2013

Focus: Multiple Audiences – For external audience (clients, communities of interest, industry, suppliers), we emerged in more status quo messaging, services catalog, rates/schedules, and about us not too atypical from other small consulting firms. Where we differed is adopted instead of a content only site, we moved to a collaboration platform. We moved to this wiki model to allow for a standard presence to all our audiences to get more familiar with who we are. This also allowed quick publishing, linking, and some spaces for Xentity Partner Network interaction – such as a our Knowledge Base, Intranet where XPN members can edit, blog, comment, access, and use for project, corporate, or other content sharing and be used on mobile devices. We are still finding ways to obfuscate the wiki clutter for the “browse” audience, but we have found the idea of notifications on content changes for partners, comment threads has really created a stronger, tighter knit environment for keeping up to date and in touch.

2009 to 2011

Client Purchasing Officer focused – Our flash based brochure site that was really focused on our new role as prime contractor. It allowed us to quickly get content out to contracting officers, partners. It wasnt really a site to get familiar with us as a new client, but the design was pretty.

2006 to 2008

Focus: Prime Partners – During this period, This site was used to market to prime contractors to help get familiar with our growing services. We were beginning to get some great traction in transformation success not just in architecture, but growing in management and communications

2003 to 2005

Focus: XPN Members – This site was beta playground for our growing network of XPN members. It was lightly used and more for technology fun getting into add-in modules concepts on creating community environments for our independent consultans in XPN. The fonts you see here are only off 

2001 to 2002

Focus: None! Hard to imagine a company without a web presence to help distinguish awareness of who they are, get familiar with what they can do, and help perspective partners or clients consider buying from you. This was probably the last of a small people services startup era without a web presence.