Monday, January 30, 2006

How much you REALLY rely on your DBA.

One of my friends from work just emailed me something to post. And just FYI: I haven’t been to work in 2 weeks because I broke my hand skiing.


I will be honest here. I take resources for granted more then I should. It is hard not to at times. This causes a nice shock to your system and a reality check when they go away unexpected.


Being a project manager for a huge corporation, it’s very hard not to view people as resources, especially when you may be managing and assigning daily work to 15-30 people at a time. What is even worse is if your team members start to catch on that they are just a “number” in your little teaming environment.


No one wants to be viewed or tagged by how many hours of work a week you can get them to do. It makes for a very inefficient worker. Most people like to be called by their names, and not their job title (go figure). My DBA is no different…notice how I call him “my” DBA, with no name attached to his title? Guilty as charged.

MythBuster: A quick “harmless” test:

Myth: Backup resources are vital to a team’s success….False!

A good quick way to remember how important and vital your resources are to the whole team is to randomly pull a member your team without warning, communication, or planning… or better yet pull three of them and then break the hand of a fourth. Sure, they will have back-ups that share their job title. But they aren’t really backups for them, just someone that shares the same schooling, certificate, and skills. You can not replace a team member’s brain (well not yet at least), you can not replace 3-18 months of knowledge and history they have gained. And you cannot replace the speed (and trust) they have for making quick decisions and changes to your project.

Unrealistic Resolutions:

In order to really keep your team from leaving your project or your team, you will have to not allow any members to do any of the following:

  1. No driving in the same car together, anywhere…ever. (following each other in separate cars is just as risky)
  2. Can’t go on vacation, especially out of the country (this most definitely includes skiing)
  3. No foreign foods that may be volatile to their stomach, skin, eye sight, or internal working components of the body.
  4. Can not get divorced, get married, get annulled, get engaged, start a relationship, or end a relationship with any person that would be considered “high maintenance”
  5. No physical sports what so ever (ground or water). Card games and board games are OK. Video games are not (keyboard/joystick injuries are just as bad as a broken hand)

Obviously this is not a very realistic list. So the only choice is to identify the fine balance between covering all your team members in bubble-wrap or providing them with bungee-jumping gift certificates.


1. Above all, keep team members happy.

2. Always view your vital resources as your friends, because if they are not your friends, then they are your enemies. I personally don’t like it when those that work on my teams totally hate me. Call me weird but it makes for a little bit of an unstable work environment in my opinion.

3. If it is less effort to give your team what they want (any of the above 5 points), and more effort to keep them from what they want, just give in. You will be happier in the long run and you will have happier people working with you, not for you.

4. Your vital team mates should be viewed as your friends first, co-workers second, and team resources last. I would still like to keep all my friends/team mates covered in bubble-wrap all the time and secluded to their “work cells”, but I really don’t think they would answer the phone when I call them at 9pm on a Saturday or 7am on a Sunday. And believe me, they get those calls.

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