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Hello World

There, I said it.  And, having said hello I suppose some sort of introductions are in order.  For the purposes of this blog I am quite simply a production DBA for a supplier to the jewelry industry, however in the real world I wear more professional hats than some people have shoes.  In addition to maintaining and monitoring our the databases and the servers they reside on, I manage and maintain anti-virus systems, help desk systems, maintain recipients for our exchange server, act as a project manager, provision LUNS and build servers, provide mentoring and training, blah, blah, blah…

In other words I am a Jill of all trades, and really, honestly a master of none.  That’s one of the risks to working for a small shop.  I would like to focus on database work though, and I’ve tried to do that for the last several years.  Unfortunately, my ability to focus is directly related to the success and strengths of the folks I work with, and as you can imagine that varies from time to time.

While I’m on the subject of my team, I feel I should provide a little bit of back story.  I work for a participative management based company.  The company has been running this way for a bit over 20 years and it works.

Websters.com defines participative management as a style of management that lays stress on human relations and of workers’ participation in management decision making.  It also mentions that in practice the level of decision making varies from being simply a safety valve for discontent to actual business decision making.  In our implementation associates are actively involved in making business decisions and we are given the tools to make them effectively.

To me, participative management is a way to work in which I am empowered to make the business decisions within my domain of knowledge.  It also means that I have a responsibility to my stakeholders (in this case my teammates, the other associates I work for, and ultimately our external customers) to be as effective, fiscally responsible, and knowledgeable as possible so that I make the absolute best business decision possible.

In addition to empowerment comes the responsibility to, along with my team, manage the team that I work with.  By manage I mean that we are each responsible for providing timely, constructive feedback to our team mates to ensure that we are all meeting the business need.  That’s a phrase I will most likely repeat over and over.  Everything I do at work is to meet the need of the business.  As much as I would love to take advantage of every new feature out there; if it doesn’t meet a business need I can’t justify the expense in both dollars and human capitol to explore it.

It recently hit home that this gives me a somewhat unique perspective in the IT world.  When I talk to other DBAs or administrators I often hear that that they feel the business is making a mistake and they feel powerless to do anything about it.  That feeling of helplessness has been foreign to me during my tenure in IT, and honestly I can’t imagine working any other way.

So why did I tell you all of this?  Because it will most certainly slant the way I do things, and tell you things in the future.  Many times the solutions I come up with have nothing to do with best practice, and will not use conventional wisdom.  The things I do work for my shop – but may not work for you.

Next up, community and how it meets a business need.

Categories: Community
  1. Richard
    December 1, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    Sounds like a nice way to work. It would solve a lot of the problems we have around here. I don’t even get to talk with the stakeholders! (In some ways that is good – they don’t call me with questions about Outlook, for example.) A lot of our choices come from “On High” and are quite mysterious. They may make sense but without context it seems random sometimes. Hard to get motivated under those conditions…

    • December 1, 2010 at 10:33 pm

      I really do enjoy working where I do. I did spend time prior to my current company working for large corporations with traditional management structures so have some basis for comparison, and I can’t imagine trying to be a DBA or in any IT role in a different culture.
      I can tell you that working in a participatory management structure is not always easy – we are responsible for things that in a traditional company would be taken care of by a manager. The benefits make it worth it though.

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