Soft Skills for Hardware People

Credit: KDKA Weather Center

In April 2022, at the GMIS Illinois GIANTS conference ( I presented to my Government IT peers about being a Business Analyst. 

The point of my presentation was this: as business systems and infrastructure move to the Cloud, our jobs as IT Managers are changing.  Less of our time is taken up by managing servers and installing software on desktops, and much of our jobs are simplified down to "secure dependable connectivity" to the Cloud.  But I also promised the crowd that mine was NOT a cybersecurity presentation - we had plenty of those already!

Instead, my talk was about how government IT workers can add value to our organizations by helping our users select, implement, and use new technology.  Drawing on my 30 years (??!) of experience doing this, I shared my lessons learned as a Business Analyst.

The format for my presentation was inspired by "5 Minute University" from comedian Don Novello, performing as Father Guido Sarducci.  Unlike the live presentation - you have time to watch it here:

If you didn't watch the clip: 5 Minute University is a series of pithy summaries of key information.  Using that format (but much less funny) here are my key points.  These are presented in the order you'd go through in procuring, implementing, and using a Cloud solution.

  • Selecting Solutions
    • Find the best solution you can afford, and adapt to it
    • Focus on the 20% that is abnormal - it will be 80% of the effort!
  • Configuration
    • Plan for growth and changes
    • Reference codes form the foundation
  • Testing
    • Test the Modify and Delete scenarios (Adding records is easy…)
    • Test the User Xperience
  • Reporting Issues
    • Get to tier 2 support
    • Pictures and Videos
  • Documentation
    • Documentation is a selfish act
    • Crowdsource it: “Import from Word”
  • Data Management
    • Interfaces and conversions
    • Own the data, rent the system
  • Emergency Planning
    • System’s down - users should…?
    • Vendor goes out of business?
  • Data Analysis (requires three things)
    • A Question to Answer
    • Access to Data
    • Understand the Data's Structure

Later I hope to have a link to the talk and maybe even some of the content included above, but those are the key points!