Are You a T or a Comb?

19 May 2024 » Opinion , MSA

Many of you may be wondering what the heck I am going to write about today with this title. I know, the first time you hear these words together it sounds like someone made a bad choice of words. However, once you finish reading this post, it will make a lot of sense. In fact, I am sure you will get it even before getting to the end.

The comb

I would like to start with the T, but it is easier to explain the comb first. Consider the following diagram:

The comb

The top shaft is your brain, the teeth represent the area that you are evaluating (in this case, the Adobe Experience Cloud) and the length of the teeth is the amount of knowledge that you have about each tool. I do not know if this is clear in this diagram, but my goal was to show that all teeth have the same length, which means that you know more or less the same about each tool. In other words, no tool stands out from the rest. Consequently, this diagram resembles a comb, with a shaft at the top and equally long teeth.

This is the typical situation of an architect. We should know enough to be “dangerous” about each product or tool that we work with, but we do not have to know in detail about any of the tools.

The T

Now, let’s shift our focus to another analogy: the T. I guess that you know where I am going to go next:

The T

Now I am depicting an Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) technical consultant, someone who is working with AEM all day long, knows it in depth, and can answer any question about the tool. You probably have also noticed that this shape now looks more like a T instead of a comb.

Where are you?

The reality is that nobody is a pure T or a pure comb, but somewhere in between.

If I take myself as an example, when I started my career at Adobe 12 years ago, I only knew Adobe Analytics. The rest of the tools were completely alien to me. I guess that qualified me as an I. A few years later, I became an SME in Adobe Audience Manager. Does this make me a π?

Now that I work as an enterprise architect, I have had exposure to all Adobe Experience Cloud tools, but I do not know all of the with them same depth. My comb would have broken teeth. A real, broken comb would be quite useless, but using it as a metaphor in technology, it becomes handy.

Where do you see yourself?

Which one is better?

None. Let me repeat it in case it was not clear enough: NONE. Each of us will take a different path in our careers and all are equally valid. I took the solution architect path, but that does not mean that I am better than single solution consultants. In fact, an architect needs more SMEs than the other way around. An SME can deliver single-solution projects without an architect, but an architect cannot deliver a multi-solution project without SMEs.


Photo by cottonbro studio

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