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KAI Partners Staff Profile: President & CEO, David Kendall

Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO), Certified ScrumMaster (CSM), Community Service, Corporate Training, Entrepreneurship, Front Street Animal Shelter, KAI Partners, KAI Partners Staff Profile, Learning, Managing/Leadership, Organizational Change Management (OCM), Professional Development, Program Management, Project Management, Project Management Professional (PMP), Sacramento, Sacramento Steps Forward, Servant Leadership, Small Business, Training, WEAVE, Workforce Development

There are many paths to success and while not everyone takes the same path, we often manage to arrive at the same destination. In our KAI Partners Staff Profile series, we share interviews and insight from some of our own employees here at KAI Partners. Our staff brings a diversity in education, professional, and life experience, all of which demonstrate that the traditional route is not necessarily the one that must be traveled in order to achieve success.

Today, we bring you the journey of our very own President & CEO, David Kendall! David founded KAI Partners in 2003. As our President & CEO, he is a managing director for the organization, as well as service delivery lead for a number of our clients.

KAI Partners, Inc.: How did you get into your line of work?

David: I spent nine years in the U.S. Air Force performing a technical role related to electronic warfare. At the same time, I was finishing up my undergraduate degree in Management Information Systems from University of Maryland University College. After the Air Force and graduating from college, I worked for several different companies in project manager and program manager roles.

KAI: Are there any certifications or trainings you’ve gone through that have helped in your career?

David: I have my Project Management Professional (PMP)®, Certified ScrumMaster (CSM®), and Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO®) certifications. I’ve found that certifications give us a common language to talk about a particular domain. They provide a framework to execute tasks in a specific order to achieve an outcome. They also provide a professional community and opportunities for community service.

KAI: What is your favorite part about your line of work and why?

David: For clients, my favorite part of my job is providing solutions to business problems. Helping solve problems means I can really see the value for our customers, partners, and our staff. My favorite part of being a small business President & CEO is individual and team development.

KAI: What is one of the most common questions you receive from clients and what counsel or advice do you give them?

David: I frequently get asked by clients, “How do I manage change across my organization?” I recommend building coalitions, identifying change agents, and including these people in the process early and often. Internally, I sometimes get the ‘What’s in it for me?’ question. I think it’s important to communicate why we do what we do and how this relates back to all aspects of a person’s work—their own development, the team’s development, our community, and our customers.

At the end of the day, our goal is to help provide more reliable services to Californians, so it’s important to keep this at the forefront.

Now that we’ve learned more about David’s background and current work as both consultant and KAI Partners’ President & CEO, here’s a little more about him!

Quick Q&A with David Kendall:

Daily, must-visit website: For work, I visit Asana.com. It’s a flexible work management tool that allows the team to create a set of business rules so everyone can work successfully. For news and information, I go to the New York Times, LinkedIn, and—of course—social media sites.

Preferred genre of music or podcast to listen to: The most recent audiobook I listened to was “Lab Rats: How Silicon Valley Made Work Miserable for the Rest of Us,” by Dan Lyons. I read this for the bi-monthly KAI Book Club. The book club is a newer endeavor for us internally. I’ve enjoyed the participation and a diversity of perspectives and thought-provoking discussion that comes out of our meetings. We also have a resident mixologist who creates thematic cocktails based on each book!

Best professional advice received: “Leaders are not appointed.” Another piece of advice I received is simply said (but not always simply done), and that is: Manage expectations. I’ve found that this applies to any management job at any level.

Book you can read over and over again: Principles: Life and Work by Ray Dalio.

Most-recent binge-watched show: “Letterkenny” on Hulu.

About David: Mr. Kendall’s career serving the public sector includes key consulting positions for various health and human services agencies. Mr. Kendall supports a number of community partners in the Sacramento region, including WEAVE, Sacramento Steps Forward, and Front Street Animal Shelter. In his spare time, David enjoys playing golf and cooking.

What is Enterprise Architecture and Why do you need it?

Enterprise Architecture, Healthcare, Program Management, Project Management, Sacramento, Startup Company

By Barbara Hill

In the public healthcare community, there is a well-known parable of the “Three Friends.”  As this story goes, three friends are out for a walk on a beautiful day. They pass a tremendous waterfall and pause to take in its majesty and beauty. As they continue their hike upstream, they see a child being carried by the fast-moving water towards the fall. They quickly rescue the child, but in doing so, notice more children coming downstream towards them.

One friend decides to focus on those most immediately in need of saving before going over the edge of the waterfall, while the other two start building a raft to save more children. But there are still more children coming, and the three friends quickly get overwhelmed trying to save them all.

At some point, two of the friends realize their third friend seems to have disappeared, but looking up, they see this friend moving far upstream, helping children along the way, but moving farther away from the waterfall. They call out, “Where are you going? Why are you abandoning us? We still have so many children to save!” The third friend calls out a reply, “I am going to find out who or what is throwing these children in the river and stop them.”

Let’s look at this parable in the real world—for example, the healthcare industry:

  1. The first friend represents those care givers we all go to when we are in desperate need: ER doctors, ICU nurses, trauma surgeons, etc.
  2. The second friend represents the caregivers who help keep us healthy on a regular basis: The doctors, nurses, and clinicians who give us our annual checkups and make sure we are up to date with our vaccinations.
  3. The third friend is not as easily found. These are the “upstream doctors”—the ones looking to understand the wider system dynamics that affect a person’s health. They consider how our health depends on a broad range of factors, such as where and how we live and work (i.e., the “social determinants of health”).

Enterprise architects (EAs) are the “upstream doctors” for businesses.

For many businesses, their primary efforts fit into the realm of the first friend. They are totally consumed with keeping the business going, getting product out the door, making sales, and bringing in revenue; they are “heads down” on making things happen.

Some businesses may have a few of the second type of friend, perhaps consultants to help them improve their business processes, or suggest new tools and technologies that might help them get a few more dollars into their pockets.

Rarer still are those businesses including the third type of friend, someone looking far upstream to better understand why and how their business operates the way it does, someone who is focused on the larger context within which their business operates and the sources of their ultimate success or failure.

An Enterprise Architect (the third friend) works to ensure all parts of your business and the relationships between them work towards achieving your overall strategic goals.

This means your business architecture (your business capabilities and processes) are well-aligned with your information architecture (your data definitions, flows, and repositories). These are in turn facilitated by the software applications and systems you use to perform your work and are supported by the technology infrastructure everything is built upon.

KAI Partners’ Enterprise Architects look more widely at the ecosystem your enterprise fits within, looking at how your suppliers, competitors, partners, and government regulatory bodies effect how well you can stay healthy and not go tumbling over the waterfall.

Here is a little bit about KAI Partners’ Enterprise Architecture services:

  1. Enterprise Architecture Program Development Services. Customized for your organization’s needs, we assess the maturity level of your organization’s Enterprise Architecture, as well as the Current State, Future State, Gap Analysis, Roadmap, and more.
  2. Enterprise Architecture Team Implementation Services. We assess the existing level of your team’s Enterprise Architecture Maturity and help design and/or advance your existing Enterprise Architecture program.
  3. Business and IT Strategy Alignment Services. Some of our services include Strategic Planning, Business Architecture, Business Operating Model, and Application Portfolio Rationalization.

As noted Enterprise Architecture pundit Tom Graves said, enterprise architecture is based on one central idea: “Things work better when they work together with clarity, with elegance, on purpose.”

Interested in learning more about KAI Partners’ Enterprise Architecture services? We’d love to talk to you and get an understanding of your organization’s needs! Contact us today at 916-465-8065.

About the Author: Barbara Hill is a Senior Enterprise Architect with KAI Partners. With over 20 years of experience working with both California state government and private sector companies, she has been instrumental in helping clients address the complexity and volatility of change, while ensuring alignment between strategic goals and operational realities. Barbara has held Enterprise Architecture certifications from Zachman International and Pragmatic Enterprise Architecture (PEAF and POET) and is currently working on certification from the Business Architecture Guild. Her Enterprise Architecture practitioner’s bag includes considerable knowledge and experience with organizational change management, quality improvement practices (such as LEAN and Six Sigma), knowledge management, data management, and data governance. Barbara’s wide-ranging work interests are a reflection of her nomadic early days, having resided in a number of different U.S. locations, as well as Mangla, West Pakistan and London, England.