Eye on Oracle

Jun 21 2007   9:10AM GMT

DBAs are from Mars, managers are from Venus

Beth Pariseau Beth Pariseau Profile: Beth Pariseau

All you unhappy DBAs out there who have been flooding our comment box — take note. Our management and career expert Michael Hillenbrand just wrote a great article, “DBA 102: Beyond the basics,” which might just contain the advice you need to get out of your job slump.

Michael doesn’t have a lot of sympathy for bitter DBAs whining about how unappreciated they are:

Having managed dozens of DBAs for over 15 years now, I can authoritatively say this — if you feel your manager does not understand you, chances are you need look no further than a mirror to place blame. In other words, if your manager does not understand you or the importance of your role, then you (and only you) need to change this. When was the last time you actually communicated with your boss? Do you provide weekly or even daily status reports? Do you explain difficult terms in easily understandable terminology? Do you provide charts and graphs showing how the databases are performing? Can you speak intelligently about the financial or business impact of downtime or poor performance?

Read on to find out exactly how you can do this. Michael provides some great examples of how you can translate your typical DBA-speak into language that your manager can understand (Hint: Talk money, and use pictures!).

The article also covers some of the hard (technical) and soft (non-technical) skills you need to go beyond the basics of database administration and ensure that you’re indispensable to your company.


2  Comments on this Post

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  • Noons
    it is PRECISELY because of "talk money and use pictures" that dbas have difficulty in communicating with managers who require that sort of level of speech. let's face it: if such a manager needs to have an "intelligent" explanation of the financial or business impact of downtime or poor performance, then the problem is WITH the manager, not the dba... but then again, I'm quite sure this is a communication "issue"?
    0 pointsBadges:
  • Michael Hillenbrand
    Great point! Unfortunate as it may be, the reality is that there are a lot of managers out there who don't understand what dbas do, who don't understand where they would be without them, and who don't understand the complexities of the technology. The advice I gave is to put things in proper business perspective for these "non-technical" managers. If a dba has a problem manager, the best thing they can do is learn how to deal with it since it is unlikely the dba will be able to influence change to the management structure (at least in most organizations).
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