business

The three things a Business Analyst should think about during meetings

When it comes to working as a business analyst, I’ve learned that there are just three things you need to keep in your mind when meeting with your customers (the project sponsor (gold owner) and domain experts (“goal donors”)) to gather requirements. These three thoughts will keep your meeting on track, lead you to the next question, and will help you know when your work is done.

Don’t be afraid to hire people that are smarter than you alvin December 22, 2018 - 11:23am

I’m reminded of the time right before an interview for a contracting position that a tech recruiter called and told me, “Don’t appear to be too smart. Pretend that you can’t answer some of his questions if you have to. He won’t hire people he thinks are smarter than he is.” I answered every question he asked because if that’s the way he was, I didn’t want to work there.

As a manager or business owner — any kind of leader — always hire people that are smarter than you in one or more ways.

The Red Hat ethos

The URL contains a statement of the Red Hat ethos. A couple of good quotes:

Open source is a development model, not a business model. Red Hat is in the enterprise software business and is a leading provider to the Global 500. Enterprise customers need products, not projects and it’s incumbent on vendors to know the difference. Open source projects are hotbeds of innovation and thrive on constant change. These projects are where sometimes constant change happens, where the development is done.

Dries Buytaert: “Mollom: The story of my first SaaS startup” alvin May 3, 2018 - 1:01pm

Dries Buytaert has a good story about how he created the now-defunct Mollom anti-spam service. No word on why they didn’t try to sell the service rather than just shut it down.

“Every person in your company is a vector”

“Every person in your company is a vector. Your progress is determined by the sum of all vectors.”

That’s a quote from Elon Musk. In this context a vector is what I know about from my engineering background, a company of both a speed and a direction, something like this:

case class Vector(speed: Double, direction: String)

The correct thing about that quote is that the worst employees I ever had pulled in a direction that was somewhere around 180 degrees opposite of the direction we were aiming for. For example, if nine out of ten employees are rowing a boat that’s headed east, an employee that’s rowing towards the west is going to slow everyone else down.

Unfortunately I never had much success turning those people around, so they were always fired or encouraged to find other work. Over the years we had everything from people whose work had to be completely re-done to people who had agendas during the 8-5 work hours that had nothing to do with the company’s agenda.

The Parable of the Carpenter

Way back in 2005 I read an SI.com article about football coach Dick Vermeil, and the article mentioned a story called, The Parable of the Carpenter. I’ve never found an official version of the story, but here’s a version I cobbled together from multiple sources, including that SI article: