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John Sansom - SQL Server DBA in the UK

John Sansom (@SQLBrit) is a Technology Lead with the database team at Expedia, Inc. providing consulting services and support for one of the worlds largest SQL Server environments. Awarded the Microsoft Community Contributor Award (MCC) John can be found regularly blogging about Being a DBA and Professional Development over at www.johnsansom.com.

TSQL Tuesday 13: Managing Unrealistic Expectations

TSQL Tuesday13: Managing Unrealistic ExpectationsIt’s that time of the month again, no not that one, it’s T-SQL Tuesday time and this weeks topic is hosted by none other than SQLServerCentral’s own Steve Jones. If you don’t know what T-SQL Tuesday is, you’re either new to the SQL community or have had your head buried in the sand for the last year. I’m not going to repeat what others have said a thousand times over, as much as I do love the sound of my own voice, but essentially it’s a cracking excuse for SQL folk to Blog and discuss a common topic. If you’re a member of the Twitterverse you can follow the discussion online using the #TSQL2sDay hash tag.

This months theme is “What issues have you had in interacting with the business to get your job done?”.

A brilliant topic might I add and one that is sure to stir up some passionate discussion. I’m not going to focus on issues however, that’s just not my style :-) I want to talk to you about solutions!

Managing Unrealistic Expectations

It’s not uncommon for a Data Professional to come face to face with unrealistic expectations. In fact let’s not beat around the bush here, it’s actually a very common problem. A problem that if ignored or left unattended will inevitably materialise as a real barrier to your success.

We’ve all been there right. Whether it be the classic Developer in the cube next to you scenario, adamant that they need full carte blanch SA rights in order to get the job done, or the CEO that expects zero downtime at no cost.

What’s really interesting about cases such as these is that from the outside, if you look at things on face value, they’re actually very understandable wants. Is it unreasonable for a person to want to pursue the least path of resistance, to use the quickest method to get the job done, or to get the best results they can at the lowest cost? Of course not!

The Power Of Understanding

Arming yourself with this understanding is the first step to removing barriers that can be created from such ideals. You see the missing piece of the jigsaw puzzle is that life is just not that simple and this dear reader is where you come in. I would even go so far as to say that this is one of the core reasons that you are able to exist in your role as that of the Data Professional!

A Marketing Director is unlikely to care which authentication method you plan to implement or the specifics of the security policy you plan to follow but they will want to know that their data assets are ultimately safe. Understanding how your customers view the world, what their needs and wants are, will empower you to provide exactly just the right level of information and service required, so that you may steer your task toward a successful outcome.

Walking the Line

Imagine for a moment that technical and business speak are two polar opposites of the same scale. The extent to which you need to float between these two poles varies greatly dependant on who your audience is. Communication is a skill that is of tantamount importance when it comes to being an effective Data Professional and is one of the traits I cover in 10 Character Traits of Outstanding DBA’s.

It almost sounds simple when you know how right, and it can be once you are able to communicate appropriately with your audience. Want to read more about communication challenges that a DBA has to face, take a look at The Politics of SQL Server Performance.

You are the expert, the visionary that can see things both from a technical perspective and a business viewpoint. It is your responsibility to advise, educate and ultimately consult on ALL topics pertaining to data, and in doing so you must consider the issues and objectives from all the appropriate angles. Be sure to set yourself and your business up for success by managing expectations.

Further Reading:

Comments

Posted by Anonymous on 14 December 2010

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Posted by Jason Brimhall on 14 December 2010

Thanks John.  I like the way you presented this article.

Posted by John Sansom on 14 December 2010

Thanks Jason, glad you liked it!

There are some excellent contributions to this months challenge all round.

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