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  • Writer's pictureGemma Blezard

Spotlight Series: Matthew Morris

We’re really excited to introduce you to an English gentleman who always has our back – MVP and London Admin User Group leader Matthew Morris. You may know him from his Pluralsight Play-by-Play on diagramming; if you don’t and you’re on your #JourneyToCTA, please watch it – it will help.

Matt has such a fab style of describing himself that we’ll just dive straight in!

Who is Matt Morris?

“I’m actually quite shy and private, so I get uncomfortable when I have to reply to these things. I’ve cringed in the past when I’ve had to write a “fun fact” to introduce myself at training courses. Particularly whilst I was at McKinsey with Olympic medalists, Guiness World Record holders and polar explorers.

“Ok, all this is padding to help me dodge the questions!

“I’ve lived in Bristol for the past decade. It’s a beautiful part of the U.K. with lots of scenery, history and culture. We have a house close to the historic harbour and it really lifts my spirits to walk around the corner and look out on the wide expanse of water with the city skyline and green fields beyond.

“I’ve never read a great number of fiction books. When I do start one I find that it totally consumes me and I’m up until the small hours of the night hooked on ‘just one more chapter’. I remember reading the novel Atonement back in the early 2000s when it came out and I was deeply moved by the plot twist in the end, so I do enjoy fiction. More recently I read some of the science-fiction books by William Gibson. He was the author that introduced the term ‘cyberspace’ into popular culture back in the 1980s and who is also known for his remark, ‘the future is already here, it’s just not evenly distributed’ in relation to virtual reality technology in the mid-nineties. This is a phrase which resonates with me when looking at technology today. I actually got directed to the writings of William Gibson in one of my first podcast interviews with Salesforce’s Peter Coffee, he is always a great source of quotes, thoughts and ideas. For anyone who’s interested, Gibson’s novel Neuromancer is a thought-provoking read as it has has many ideas on the social and moral impact of technology.

“These days most of my reading is done to me by Audible. I’m currently recommending the audiobook of The Inevitable by Kevin Kelly, founding editor of Wired magazine. If you’re interested in where technology is taking society there are some more great ideas in here.

“Shall we save film and TV for another time? There’s a lot of Disney in our house at the moment.”

Tell us how you heard about Ladies Be Architects?

“Some bird named Gemma told me!”

What feelings did Ladies Be Architects inspire within you?

“My initial reaction was ‘Hell yeah!’

“Then I thought it should be’ “Ladies Are Architects”, and then, ‘Ladies make better architects’

“In my IT career, which dates back to 1994, I have been lucky to work with some fantastic role-models, many of whom happen to have been women. I’ve reflected on my experiences as I have worked to develop my architect skills and I have come to the conclusion that the women I worked with were superior developers/testers/analysts/architects because they exhibited better communication skills, were well organised, had a lot less ego than many of their male colleagues. I include myself as one of these comparable males. Their technical skills were as good or better, and technical skills can always be learned and improved far easier than the soft skills of listening and communication.

“With the huge growth in Salesforce projects, both in terms of quantity and complexity the world is crying out for more good quality architects to keep the projects out of the ditch. I need help! I don’t care where the architects come from, just as long as they are organised, communicative and knowledgeable.

“Today I read the name of your movement as an instruction, ‘Ladies [you are needed to] Be Architects’ Step up!

Tell us about your experience with CTA – what have you learned and why is it important to you?

“As far back as 2014 I thought ‘I could do that! I’m an architect! I can be a CTA!’. So my interest and involvement has been almost 5 years!

“The whole series of events which have taken place for me is a very long story and something for another time and place, probably late evening over cocktails!

“I have learnt so much, including how much I didn’t know and how much I still don’t know!

“The central lesson for me is: in the architect role, having detailed knowledge and facts in your head which you can bring into use during a discussion with clients builds trust. For example, I have been able to use my knowledge of OAuth 2.0 authentication flows (which I worked hard to learn and UNDERSTAND during CTA study!) to prevent an inaccurate choice being selected by the client which could have wasted valuable time on the project. It’s situations like this where the architect role is key to the decision making process, and why as an architect you should insist on attending meetings involving decision makes. When the opportunity arises it is very rewarding to be able to stand up and show the audience how the solution needs to be built and to field their questions and challenges. On days like that I feel like I made a difference to the outcome of the project.”

What’s the next step for you on your Journey to CTA?

“Sharpen my Salesforce solutioning skills. I was not hands-on daily with Salesforce for several years during my past couple of jobs. Now I’m back on an implementation project it’s time to brush up on all the changes and new features.

Do you have any concerns or doubts about the architect credentials?

“In my experience, the architect credentials are the most relevant and the supporting learning resources are the most comprehensive. I encourage everyone to partake of them, even if they do not aspire to the architect role or for the CTA certification.

“The only concern I have is that the leap from passing all the architect certs to being able to apply the skills and knowledge in front of the Review Board is very big. More support is needed for people who desire to pass the Review Board so that they have the time and opportunity to develop their architect style and confidence.

How can men help women to achieve success in the architect programme?

“Women don’t need men mansplaining anything to them.

“All people need challenges and opportunities to be available for them to develop. Looking out for the development needs of other people is something I think has a great impact.

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