Archive for July 6, 2009

Shhhh Listen

Posted: July 6, 2009 in Uncategorized

Well I am getting ready to head off for another trip, this time I am going to film some sessions for the upcoming SSWUG Summer Conference. As I am looking into a few of the subjects I will be speaking on I got lost in the blog chain where I found one great post after another. One that I stopped on was an interview done with Claire Brooking by Sarah Blow. The entry in whole was well done, as it talked about how Claire saw women in technology. What I found of most interest was the last question that I think I get asked most often. What piece of advice would you give to anyone wanting to get into an IT career?

If you want to look into the original article it can be found here.

As I was contemplating the answers that Claire gave one in particular jumped out at me. Listen to other peopleā€¦, the more and more that I thought about this I could not help to think about what this means. I think this piece of advice could be meant to everyone everywhere, but as I apply it to what I have done over the last 5 years I cannot help but to think of really how important this is and how much this is not happening. So I challenge you as readers are you really listening to what is being said?

A number of years ago I was the Senior Administrator at a company where a major upgrade was being developed that would dramatically impact the business. I was always caught off guard by the number of times that management would push deadlines and deliverables. There were a number of times when management would not ask the development time of a specific task but instead would state what they wanted done and when they wanted it done by. The lead developer on the project would try to meet those project timelines but when deadlines were missed or were under delivered, the wrath of management was felt. The employees under this one manager would even get to the point where they knew every 6 months the VP of that group would have a week where no matter what the circumstances were everyone in the group was a slacker, everyone in the group was at risk of being fired and everyone in the group was worthless.

Phil Factor posted an entertaining piece on IT in the Sci-Fi world and how the teams could or could not reprogram a ships function. As he went through this he pointed out the sad but true methods that we have put in place. If the future holds the same attitude as the present for moving towards a single goal we are in sad shape. Well that is my opinion.

As I am now no longer in the employment of the company that I mentioned earlier it is much easier to see the issues. The biggest one is the lack of anyone’s ability to listen.
If the VP would have listened then maybe the developers would have been able to set a better expectation on management of the challenges they were going to face and either get the help needed to overcome those, or adjustments to make sure that proper expectations were being set. If the development team listened a little more they may have understood the importance of the release and how much it would have impacted the company.

As basic as it sounds I am surprised at how much that I see this. Everyone wants to do the best they can, many want to be the Hero or the Super Star, the Most Valuable Player, how many people set out to be the supporting guy or gal, the backup singer, the team equipment manager? Does all this desire to be the “Hero” put people in the place where they are in the mindset of, “I know what needs to be done and I know how to do it”? I don’t mean to take away from people who are the go getters or the just get it done. Maybe this is a little of self refection, I know that If I were to listen more then I could be in a better place.

Well I guess today is a true rambling. I am amazed at how a simple statement can get me thinking.