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The Robot DBA Expand / Collapse
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Posted Wednesday, September 7, 2011 9:22 AM


Ten Centuries

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Revenant (9/7/2011)
cfradenburg (9/7/2011)
majorbloodnock (9/7/2011)[hrWhat is less believable is the automation of contract negotiation; the question of "do I want to do business with this company?" can hinge on all sorts of intangible and subjective criteria which are unmeasurable even if a person can instinctively weight them up in the mix.


But what percentage of the time is the wrong decision made based on those subjective criteria?

About forty percent. Several comprehensive (and expensive) studies agree that if you cannot reduce a decision to a few simple numbers on a spreadsheet and you weigh in subjective criteria, managers get about 60 percent decisions right, no matter how many consulting bucks and effort go into that decision.

That's 10 percent better than to flip a coin.

You surprise me. In fact, I'm somewhat comforted that, averaged out, we get significantly more subjective decisions right than wrong.

Also, given how little I trust some people's judgement, that must mean there are quite a few people who're really pretty good at subjective decision-making to bring the average back up again.


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Post #1171167
Posted Wednesday, September 7, 2011 10:41 AM


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Revenant (9/7/2011)
...managers get about 60 percent decisions right, no matter how many consulting bucks and effort go into that decision.

That's 10 percent better than to flip a coin.


heh-heh... that makes me think more of Isaac Asimov's "The Machine that Won the War", which I think is closer to how things really go in the business world.
Post #1171247
Posted Wednesday, September 7, 2011 11:33 AM


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jcrawf02 (9/7/2011)
Ideally, using automation to replace workers would just require different and/or higher-level skills. The need for people to do *something* will never go away, the skills required will just change.


Agreed. Skillsets will change and there should be that type of change. Making better applications that can work faster and more accurate is good. In order to make those apps and to continue to support them, we need to continue to evolve our skillset too.




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Post #1171293
Posted Wednesday, September 7, 2011 11:43 AM
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Revenant (9/7/2011)
cfradenburg (9/7/2011)
majorbloodnock (9/7/2011)
What is less believable is the automation of contract negotiation; the question of "do I want to do business with this company?" can hinge on all sorts of intangible and subjective criteria which are unmeasurable even if a person can instinctively weight them up in the mix.


But what percentage of the time is the wrong decision made based on those subjective criteria?

About forty percent. Several comprehensive (and expensive) studies agree that if you cannot reduce a decision to a few simple numbers on a spreadsheet and you weigh in subjective criteria, managers get about 60 percent decisions right, no matter how many consulting bucks and effort go into that decision.

That's 10 percent better than to flip a coin.


That's greatly reassuring to me. Both the fact that most decisions are right and the fact that pouring money into consultants doesn't help much. I still wonder how many decisions have the "wrong" decision made for a subjective reason when it could be reduced to numbers. I'm not saying that subjective reasoning doesn't still have it's place. After all, it's worth taking a risk on someone because you want them to succeed even though the numbers don't bear it out. Or not working with someone because you know they'll be a pain.
Post #1171306
Posted Wednesday, September 7, 2011 11:46 AM


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mtillman-921105 (9/7/2011)
Heh, I'm with you one this one Steve. We can't even automate loading a random flat file into a system.

Over a decade ago, I remember hoping that one day such tasks would be unnecessary. Wrong!


Not without a DBA around 30% of the time when things go wrong







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Post #1171312
Posted Wednesday, September 7, 2011 4:33 PM
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I used to work for a company supporting other peoples software. I remember one of my colleagues looking at the original implementation of .NET and viciously asserting that "this will kill off all those cowboy developers".

Similarly I can remember a comment on this site about clustering SQL Server. In SQL6.5 to SQL2000 it went from a "hey wow" skill to "So what"!

Read Daniel Pink's Drive. He talks about human motivation and why carrot and stick is only really useful for dull mundane jobs that should be automated. People are self-motivated and enthusiastic when their creative energy is engaged.

Most DBAs I know spend a considerable amount of time figuring out how to automate stuff so they can concentrate on the interesting stuff.

SQL Server makes a wide range of DB tasks very simple. The problem comes in that people assume that something that is simple in SQL Server means that other niche products are simply bigger, faster versions of SQL Server requiring no particular skill.


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Post #1171444
Posted Thursday, September 8, 2011 12:32 AM
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Man I wish someone will automate my Jobs. Seems to me, I have enough work to last several lifetimes.
Post #1171538
Posted Thursday, September 8, 2011 5:03 PM
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SQLRNNR (9/7/2011)
jcrawf02 (9/7/2011)
Ideally, using automation to replace workers would just require different and/or higher-level skills. The need for people to do *something* will never go away, the skills required will just change.


Agreed. Skillsets will change and there should be that type of change. Making better applications that can work faster and more accurate is good. In order to make those apps and to continue to support them, we need to continue to evolve our skillset too.


Yes, you both nailed it. This is actually an old economic topic. A specific task or even a job may be automated away, but that leaves an opportunity to invest in new innovation and efficency improvements by you or others.



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