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DBAs and the Art of Diplomacy Expand / Collapse
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Posted Saturday, August 8, 2009 3:43 PM
Mr or Mrs. 500

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Comments posted to this topic are about the item DBAs and the Art of Diplomacy
Post #767446
Posted Monday, August 10, 2009 4:01 AM


Mr or Mrs. 500

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Consider the word 'fantastic' - flight of fantasy is one meaning.

So a fantastic management decision - can be whatever you want it to mean


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Post #767710
Posted Monday, August 10, 2009 5:31 AM
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Coded language is underhand. It does exist in other fields of endeavour. For instance, a politician dreads being praised for a "brave" decision.

It occurs to me that "Exceptional" in "Exceptional DBA" could mean a lot of things, too. There was that guy who refused to give his city government employer the passwords and wound up in jail - but that was network routers. But anyway, that's some exceptional career move.
Post #767757
Posted Monday, August 10, 2009 7:56 AM


Ten Centuries

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What is the most common "white lie" that a good DBA has to tell in order to maintain harmony within the department?

That's a personal judgement, but for me the answer is "there isn't one".

I'll happily provide people with escape routes, sops to their feelings, answers that are impersonally phrased or any of the other ways of avoiding conflict, but I won't lie. Harmony that requires me to do so is, IMHO, harmony not worth having.

White lies are insidious little beasts. Once you start using them, where do you stop? At what point does your attempt to protect someone's feelings (or ego) start impinging on the clear picture that person needs to have to do their job? Or, to put it another way, would being told only the good news give you a warm fuzzy feeling or scare you to death?

Sorry; this has inadvertently turned into a rant. I'll dismount my hobby horse now.


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Post #767879
Posted Monday, August 10, 2009 8:05 AM


Mr or Mrs. 500

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Again I find myself agreeing with the major.

Tell it straight, shoot the falsehoods down.

Then again I'm not a manager....

they only let me talk to clients after they have signed the contracts....


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Post #767892
Posted Monday, August 10, 2009 8:06 AM


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I'd rather be honest, but non-insulting, personally.

I've told managers that plans were not in their or the company's best interests. I wouldn't come up with some coded way to be insulting without the other person knowing it. I'd be more likely to say, "I believe more research should be done on that particular subject. From what I know, it's likely to cost more than it's value to implement the plan in its current form." or something like that. It's non-insulting, it's honest, and it puts it in terms that managers can understand.

On the other hand, I don't take it personally if I have to implement something I disagree with. If I disagree strongly enough, because the plan will have a cost to me that I don't think is worth my salary, I'll just leave.

I haven't yet been told to do something unethical/illegal, that I couldn't convince the manager involved was exactly that, and get cancelled. If I ever am in a position where doing such is necessary in order to stay employed, I'll just get busy job hunting and not do what I'm being asked. But I don't think that's what you're writing about. I take the article as being about technically inefficient/idiotic/useless policies or plans.

With those, I judge the cost to me vs my salary, or the cost to the company vs the possible ROI of the plan or policy. I'm good at debating either of those issues.


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Post #767893
Posted Monday, August 10, 2009 8:22 AM


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Wow. Lots in here, all good.

GSquared (8/10/2009)
I'd rather be honest, but non-insulting, personally....I'd be more likely to say....or something like that. It's non-insulting, it's honest, and it puts it in terms that managers can understand.

Yes, with interest. Just because it's honesty doesn't mean it has to be rude. Tact isn't about telling people what they want to hear; it's about honesty with respect.


On the other hand, I don't take it personally if I have to implement something I disagree with.


Agree even more so. Just because I disagree with something doesn't make me right. My management team are paid to take responsibility for their decisions, so once I've made sure they have all the information to hand that I can give them, I'll abide by the decision (so long as it's ethical) they then come up with and implement it to the best of my ability - that's what I'm paid for.

I suppose that if I can't put across my views without someone becoming annoyed, I view that as my failure. I'll admit I'm likely to have failures with some people more than others, but everyone's got some common ground somewhere.


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Post #767906
Posted Monday, August 10, 2009 8:31 AM
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If anyone would like to borrow my copy of Dilbert and the Way of the Weasel...

Co-workers and managers have company goals, steal-from-the-company goals, career goals, nepotism goals, not-do-any-work-after-lunch goals. Their pursuit of their goals may interfere with yours of yours. There's a natural alliance between members of the IT department against the rest of the company, which wants to take your hardware budget and buy nicer furniture with it. Which is wrong in business terms. Probably. We assume you don't just want the server to run that cool 3D screensaver without halting SQL Server to do it.

Does this mean you can lie to your IT colleagues for the greater good? Well, it's war, and the first casualty of war is...
Post #767914
Posted Monday, August 10, 2009 9:09 AM
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It depends on the personality of the person you are speaking to.

Some managers view any resistence as dissent to be crushed. A carefully phrased question can start a productive chain of thought. The answer to said question my sooth your fears, achieve nothing or prompt a manager to re-evaluate the situation. 2 out of free aint bad.

Some people like to be told straight but no-one likes to be made to look a fool.


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Post #767942
Posted Monday, August 10, 2009 9:50 AM
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David.Poole (8/10/2009)
Some managers view any resistence as dissent to be crushed.


Agreed. With some managers it doesn't matter what you say, how well thought out your argument is to explain that they are wrong they just won't listen. They immediately close ranks, and switch into boss mode, "I don't wanna hear it, I'm the boss, I've made my decision, just make it happen!". The only way forward is to appear to agree with them, but to gently guide them in the right direction so in the end they think the decision to change was theirs not yours.
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