I learned some new things in Oracle, today. I learned how to grant access when a chain of databases need access, for one. You might be surprised that I’d be doing something like that, but one of the most popular roles customers have me serve is as the person that fills-in when there’s work to be done, even if it’s not something I’ve done, before.
Although I do business analysis work and have been a project manager, some of you know I also do a lot of programming work with tools such as LabWare LIMS Basic. I do tell people I’m a LabWare LIMS expert because I’ve worked with it enough years and on enough projects to be able to say that. And I can honestly tell customers that I used to be a LIMS database admin (quite experienced at the time but not done that job for a long time, I’ll report to prospective customers who ask), and a Solaris (SUN UNIX) administrator (I never had much experience, but there was no-one else to do it).
However, when they ask about my database experience, I’m not just being modest when I tell them I know the basics of selecting and updating records. I’ve never been a DBA (database administrator) nor do I know anything about doing that kind of work.
On the other hand, on projects, there are sometimes quite a lot of tasks that come up within one area or another that put a specific project area behind. Or, there might be tasks that are important but there is no-one with the availability or knowledge to do them. In this case, it’s more about having the time to do all the tasks.
But for those of us that routinely do a variety of tasks, which is common for many consultants, we should not say “no” to a task unless we are pretty certain it would be inappropriate to assign to us or know that we’d have no idea how to do it. Otherwise, when I know nothing about a task, if asked if I can do it, I will be honest and say that I don’t know if I can but I’ll look into it to see if I think it would be something I could figure out.
Let’s face it: if you look something up and are totally lost with the terms, it’s a different issue than looking it up and finding it’s something you’d have to entirely learn and might take a bit of time with but that you could manage to figure out.
On a side note, I was looking up how to accomplish my Oracle access task and started to laugh out loud in my customer’s project team room, today. I found a convoluated example that was going on-and-on about User A, User B and User C, which I was mapping out and finding perplexing – until it dawned on me that I was all three, which I found to be humorous after stumbling around the example for a bit.
Bottom line: I didn’t say “no” to something straight-off. The customer got some extra things done and I learned something. It works out for everyone.