Bipolar Business Requirements Disorder

Do you or someone you know suffer from BBRD – Bipolar Business Requirements Disorder?

Let’s get serious… changing your mind about project deliverables before go-live is more acceptable than changing your mind while your app is live. So much for us signing off on the requirements, huh…

Either way, I still charge you by the hour.

I Hope Our Business Doesn’t Rely on You Supporting the Customer

On technical forums, this attitude often exposes itself:

Someone else might have an easy answer, yet what leaps out at me, when I read this, is that we have no code. Nor do we have a way to ensure you are, indeed, sending the correct auth data to the Web Server. As you might imagine, this makes it difficult to help you debug.

Can you write and run a simple “test case”, just enough code to test out the NTLM auth bits? If that breaks, feel free to edit your post with the code, removing the actual login and password info, of course.

How’s that sound?

—-Asim, known to some as Woodrow.

Thanks for the help…  Honestly, it took this person a lot of effort to say, in a sarcastic/belittling tone, “We need more information (or we need a, b, and c) to help you.”

Maybe these two people know each other, and therefore, the jab is of a friendly nature. However, 5 years later, the reply is still available for all to see.

I really hope that no one’s business depends on this person interacting with the customer. Maybe this person’s usual tone in dealing with support is better, but if practice makes perfect, this person will quickly become skilled in dragging down your business relationships.

We get it: You’re a genius, and no one has the skills you do. Wouldn’t life be a little more tolerable for you if you’d teach people to be a little more competent instead of scaring them away from learning with your attitude.

 

If Not Talking on the Phone While Using the Restroom Impacts Your Performance

…you need either considerably more or considerably less fiber in your diet.

I can only imagine the horror of the person on the other end of the line as you’re working through a problem and an automatic power flusher goes off.

Worse yet, imagine this being a conference call that someone has on speakerphone. Half of the office will experience the joy of every restroom sound.

I may just have to intentionally set off the power flusher a few times while I’m the stall next time.

Embrace Your Inner Lackey

Have you been given a crappy assignment?

Is your job your field’s equivalent of disassembling the drainage pipes in the building and cleaning them?  Is it beneath your skill set?

Pride goeth before the fall.

News flash: No one’s hiring people with PhDs in operating an abacus anymore. The same may go for your skill set, too.

The key thing to remember about crappy assignments is that very few people embrace them well enough to get good at them.  Yes, it’s true that if you get really good at a job that nobody else wants, you might be assigned to that job for a very long time. Unfortunately, if you do a mediocre or bad job at it, you may not have any job for very long.

Maybe you’ve been assigned this crappy job because people believe that you can turn things around. Do you want to prove people who believe in you wrong?

Maybe you’ve been assigned this crappy job because people expect you to fail. Do you want to prove those people right?

Embrace your inner lackey.

Find the angle that you can own and attack it.

The “I don’t want to risk taking action” Blockade

Iceberg floating in Lago Argentina broken off ...
Image via Wikipedia

Apparently, conventional wisdom has decided that if you don’t take action, you can’t be blamed for anything:

Sure, you’re about to hit an iceberg. However, if you try to steer the ship, and it ruptures, you’ll be at fault. If you hit the iceberg head on and your ship withstands the hit, you’ll have warded off disaster. If your ship starts going down, well, you can possibly pretend you were unaware of the problem. If you take action, you have to acknowledge the problem.

Why must departmental silos treat problems like toothaches: Because there’s a fear of going to the dentist, everyone waits until the tooth abscesses and a trip to the emergency room and an emergency extraction is needed. A little infection or cavity turned into a week-long course of top-tier antibiotics and a missing tooth.

Maybe everyone’s hoping they’ll be laid off before having to take responsibility for a problem.  After all, being laid off assumes far less personal responsibility than possibly failing when attempting a fix.

Let’s all be powerless.

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Automate Blatantly Repetitive Bureaucratic Tasks

AutoHotkey Logo png version
Image via Wikipedia

(No, this isn’t a paid advertisement, unless they decide to pay after the fact.)

Ever have one of those tasks on your computer that you feel like you could get a robot to do? I found that AutoHotkey works well for this purpose.

You can record tasks in specific windows that you have open and have them repeat the next time you need them.  Recording tracks mouse clicks and keyboard presses and records them to a readable script file.  You can then edit the generated script and add delays.

This sometimes proves useful when you have to set up detailed time sheets through a slow interface.  You can record what you need, press the button, and let things go.

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How to Make Coffee

Obviously, automatic coffee makers with hot water supply are too challenging, so here is a step-by-step guide:

1) Pull filter basket out
2) Put a new coffee filter in the basket.
3) Open coffee packet.
4) Pour coffee in basket.
5) Put filter basket back in place.
6) Rinse out near empty carafe.
7) Put carafe back.
8) Hit green/start/brew/on button.

How to Make Coffee

Obviously, automatic coffee makers with hot water supply are too challenging, so here is a step-by-step guide:

1) Pull filter basket out
2) Put a new coffee filter in the basket.
3) Open coffee packet.
4) Pour coffee in basket.
5) Put filter basket back in place.
6) Rinse out near empty carafe.
7) Put carafe back.
8) Hit green/start/brew/on button.

Work Gathering Rules

Cakes
Image by gothick_matt via Flickr

Different types of work gatherings have different rules.

  • Retirement/Departure/Birthday Lunch – Don’t be the last person to show up or the first person to leave. If you’re the one being honored, be sure to order from the reasonably-priced part of the menu.
  • Retirement Gathering at Work – Arrive early enough to be inside the room.  Sign the card memento. Laugh at the slide show. Say innocuous good luck greeting to soon-to-be retired. Eat cake.
  • Anniversary Gathering at Work – Arrive late enough to be stuck outside the room, unless you’ve worked with the person in the past. Gravitate to others in the room that you know. Get cake, but eat it while “engaging” fellow attendees, then leave while the honored guest is busy.
  • Baby Shower at Work – If you’re reading this, you must not be invited. Try to avoid stumbling into the middle of the baby shower that is inevitably going to be in a common space. Don’t touch any goodies that aren’t put out for scraps.
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Creative Writing for Business

banner Shakespeare
Image via Wikipedia

It seems like the greatest skill that many rely on to get through their careers is creative writing.

Most jobs start with a resume, in which you may have to creatively explain how your dark periods, lack of qualifications, and employment gaps don’t make you a less desirable candidate that all the people with creative resumes.

If you’re in a place which provides a peer feedback mechanism, you may need creative writing skills to critique a coworker without completely demolishing that person.

If you’re required to write your own performance appraisal, you will need to strike the balance between accuracy and best story possible. I believe this genre is called “historical fiction”.

Finally, every day you have to respond to an email from a customer or coworker who’s out-of-line, you have to respond creatively.

Forget all the business and formal writing classes. You need well-developed creative writing skills to succeed.

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