Aside: Bullying experienced 4 weeks into a new job

4 weeks into a new job a number of years ago after a less than perfect day, I came into my desk the next morning to find this box.

The problems the previous day were due to my highlighting an issue that caused a software issue which ended up blocking a release to the production environment.

Seeing this kind of reaction to my trying to do my job properly can only be seen as bullying, and a hope on the part of the people who put it there – and ended up not meeting their timelines – that I wouldn’t be so conscientious again.

Workplace Bullying

 

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Will this outage get us on the front page?

Across many of the companies I’ve worked for, given their high profile and the media attention that was on them, their clients and the type of business they did, there was always the concern as to the public impact if anything went wrong with our IT systems. This is perfectly illustrated by this recent tweet:

 

 

That I can remember, IT outages in companies I’ve worked for over the years only made it to the newspapers twice. Though, on both occasions, those stories made it to the very front pages.

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“Computers will do whatever you tell them to do”

One of the key themes I investigate on this blog is how what is commonly reported as a “computer glitch” or “technical glitch” should be more correctly blamed on “human error”. I used to have a manager that frequently stated that, in response to even unreasonable requests from his clients, “computers will do whatever you tell them to do”.

Bearing that in mind, it’s quite likely that many issues blamed on computers could be, if investigated properly, be better blamed on computers being incorrectly told what, or how, to do something.

Based on my own experiences, many human errors can be put down to people just doing something stupid, or being careless, or not truly understanding what they’re doing.

However, this quote from Ben Goldacre does highlight something that I try to focus on in my own job as a business analyst:

It’s possible for good people, in perversely designed systems, to casually perpetrate acts of great harm on strangers, sometimes without ever realising it.

A properly designed computer system or application should prevent people from doing stupid things – more particularly, it should guide its users to doing only the right thing, at the right time.

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Being a Business Analyst (5)

The uncreative mind can spot the wrong answers, but it takes a very creative mind to spot the wrong questions.

Anthony Jay

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Being a Business Analyst (4)

If I had an hour to solve a problem, I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.

Albert Einstein

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Being a Business Analyst (3)

I love this quote. Most IT project are to facilitate a business or operational change. In the haste to get something developed the more fundamental changes necessary are often neglected.

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