Archive for September, 2008

Soft Side of IT is part of ITtoolbox

My last post mentioned having a ITtoolbox blog & this is the URL:

My future postings from this site will also be on IT Toolbox.
With this new affiliation, let’s update the purpose of this blog.

This blog is to discuss the soft side of Information Technology & making IT folks more relatable. As a person who worked in numerous roles between business & IT, we often see issues that come out of nowhere; then in hindsight, it seems so obvious (most of the time).

Soft side of IT can include:
• Soft skills
• IT uses
• Communication & Interactions
• Blindspots
• Personalities & Traits
• Meetings & Project
• Life
• …
Basically, anything besides the ‘code’.

With the interactions between project managers, administrators, developers, IT analysts & Business users (Finance, Billing, Marketing, Customer Service, Procurement, Inventory, Operations …), there are bound to be some misunderstandings somewhere, somehow … then those IT projects are delayed.

Let’s hope we shine a spotlight on some of those area & drive some discussions.


Procrastination, We All Do It

Procrastination is pretty universal & this also affects developers. I remember when I was programming in university; I would try to solve the entire problems/assignments in my head before I start typing a line of code.

This is a way of planning a solution for programmer. Although this only works until it reaches a certain limit … then it cross the line of procrastination.

I just got the go ahead last week from ITToolBox for the soft side of IT blog. I was excited at first, I started dreaming of what to post on the first post. Now I realized that I have been procrastinated on posting on this for over a week. The first 2 day, it was probably planning, but after that it slowly became procrastination. To stop this, I started to write random points to get pass being stuck.

Planning is fine, because it does save time when you can find some efficient way to doing the work; but when you think way too much, planning becomes procrastination.

When you are unsure about a solution, do you start drafting the document or coding a prototype? I will give this a try as well.

Can We Move the Logo a bit higher?

“Can we move the logo a bit higher?”

All developer & web designer probably hear something similar to this before. After days/weeks/months of work to make the system work, rather than commenting on the hard work or the brilliant way to solution a request, the user first comment was on the trivial part.
It drives developers crazy!

This is the equivalent to you prepared & cooked the whole thanksgiving dinner from scratch, and then some at the table says “the turkey is a little bit dry”.

For developers:
Remember the interface is first thing the business user sees, so view it as the warm up to the discussion.

For business analysts & business users:
When you start off with simple changes, just say “Let’s start off with the easy stuff”.

Here is a related video on product changes called: The Process

Meetings: Must be Actionable

A good meeting must lead to one objective: Actionable

My last post showed how wasteful it can be. On the other hand, I had been & hosted meetings that ended in 20-30 min with an action plan to implement by the decisions made.

There is recent one to solve an ongoing bug in the system. The goal was to close the issue with an permanent IT solution, even though we ended up with an implement-able action plan that requires minimal human/manual work required.

Original Intent
The original intent of meetings is gets to gather to solve a problem. Although many this we forget to state the purpose of the meeting, then it get side tracked, then 1/2 of the people in the meeting wasted their time.

At the Meetings
As the host, I :
1. Give a brief of what people are coming in for (Otherwise you might use up half the time with misunderstandings)
2. List out the issue & figure out best approach that fit all parties/departments (Followed agenda)
3. List out action to take

4. Follow-up to close open items

Of course, the follow-up of actionable is to take action.