article19.12.20224 minutes

Discussion with Philippe Nadeau, Manager of the solutions architects’ team

  • Tech
  • Solutions

Philippe’s path is full of teachings: through all his experiences, he has developed technological skills, client-management abilities, and professional qualities that now allow today to supervise our brilliant solutions architects’ team. Today, he touches on key elements in his journey and in his role at nventive.

What did your professional path look like before joining nventive?

After my university studies, the first 10 professional years went by in a maintenance context: this was an ideal environment to develop many skills, because it required someone who could be highly autonomous, could talk directly to clients, give them answers and analyze their needs. So I filled several roles on a smaller scale.

I also completed an MBA in IT management. That truly allowed me to strengthen my skills in project management, administration, finance, accounting, operations management, inventory, etc. These skills are useful in our company, and they are essential to understand the clients’ issues.

How did you join nventive?

I joined Indicina, which joined Agyl, and later Cortex – to finally merge with nventive in 2020.

During the company’s evolution, I was first consultant, before starting to work on internal projects, and client projects after that. At the time, client management was a very appealing field to me, so I became product owner and project manager.

Through this double role, I contributed to projects right from the start, which allowed me to analyze every aspect as soon as possible. With the passing years, I switched to architect mode to better understand expectations and needs, both for the client and the teams.

And a year and a half ago, I became manager of the solutions architects’ team. In the last year, our team has constantly been growing!

Let’s talk about your evolution from developer to solutions architect. How have your experiences in different roles been beneficial to your architect role?

As a solutions architect, having touched on every aspect in my past experiences has enabled me to develop autonomy and proactivity, but also to hone my communication skills with clients.

I think that’s the key to becoming architect: you need technical knowledge, sure, but you also need to be able to communicate with clients and efficiently manage their expectations, including being transparent on a project’s feasibility.

This skill is rarely innate, you need to practise, to experience it several times during your career to be comfortable with it.

And as a manager, what teachings do you rely on every day?

As a team and project manager, it’s important to coordinate the team, to manage everyone’s expectations, to identify strengths and weaknesses, or to find which interaction types to use with different personalities. You also need to ensure projects and teams fit together.

By becoming manager, you must develop talent-management abilities. To be honest, this is something to learn to do on a daily basis.

If you had to summarize the solutions architect’s role, what would you say?

The architect’s work, really, consists in inspiring the team to orient the clients’ decision by giving them all the possible elements. When a trusting relationship is established, teamwork becomes a lot easier.

How do you accompany the teams day to day?

There are several guiding levels one can adopt, everything depends on the person you are coaching.

With more senior profiles, interactions will mostly look like coaching, individual meetings, and improvement ideas.

When someone new arrives, I guide them with more leadership at the beginning of a project to allow them to understand the methodology. I then like to assign more and more responsibilities to people.

My goal is to have a peripheral role in projects, so, as much as I can, I try to put a structure that will allow everyone to take the lead. I therefore support several projects, but at a higher level. I encourage each team to become independent.

Do you have one last tip for future solutions architects?

If you want to become an architect, don’t stay in a silo. You have to explore more broadly, develop your intellectual curiosity: touch on every subject, try things, don’t be scared of failing, etc.

The architect’s work is not about knowing everything, but knowing where to find answers. Each project is different, new technologies emerge every month, so you always have to stay up to date to remain relevant. You don’t need to become an expert in certain fields to become a solutions architect. You precisely need to be able to know each field to adapt to each projects’ reality and needs.

Thank you, Philippe, for taking the time to talk to us!

For more information on the solutions architect’s role, listen to our podcast with Philippe Nadeau and Guillaume Dussault, solutions architects.