I Shouldn’t Be Necessary

Posted by Robert Merrill on January 22, 2013 under Software & Integrator Selection, uFunctional Values | Read the First Comment

I was keeping up with technology by reading Information Week Reports “Guide to Practical Database Monitoring” (registration required) when I came across this statement:

There is a shell game—a sleight of hand, if you will—that goes on during the proof-of-concept portion of the sales process. Vendors carefully orchestrate the process, showing you key advantages while masking problems and dropping subtle land mines for their competitors. A scripted evaluation process bears little resemblance to your day-to-day requirements, so make sure you actually test in your environment against the more difficult databases and requirements.

It’s easy to curse the darkness, but the darkness doesn’t seem to care, especially if it’s nearly always dark out. Read more of this article »

Focused Perspective

Posted by Robert Merrill on January 21, 2013 under 100 Words, uFunctional Values | Be the First to Comment

Thanks to digital cameras with zoom lenses, even casual picture-takers now know about “wide-angle” and “telephoto.” It’s easy. You move the little lever until the scene looks right and push the button.

Many difficult jobs are difficult because they also require switching back and forth between “wide-angle” and “telephoto.” But it’s not so easy to switch, and it’s much harder to tell what you’re missing by not switching.

Smiley face made up of dots, with a magnifying glass showing that the dots are frowning faces.Working with software is like that. On the wide-angle end, it’s about improving a business process or opening a new sales channel. On the telephoto end, it’s about getting two pieces of third-party software to play nice, and writing bug-free code, often on deadline. It takes Perspective to see how software will change the work done by people in multiple departments. And it takes Focus to find out why the tax still isn’t being calculated correctly.

Common sense tells us to start with the big picture—Perspective—and proceed to details—Focus. But experience tells us—at least those of us who’ve been around software very long—that it’s not a one-way trip. Quite often the first dive into the details reveals some things which would change our perspective, and that’s not easy to do. But it is essential to avoid a lot of stress and wasted money, and that’s why I’ve called out “Focused Perspective” as one of my professional values. Read more of this article »

How to Recommend Someone on LinkedIn

Posted by Robert Merrill on January 17, 2013 under Tech Tips | Read the First Comment

LinkedIn recommendations are precious.

But in the past six weeks, I’ve had two people who wanted to recommend me and got stuck!

There are probably other and better help pages, but this one’s just for you. Read more of this article »

Principled Pragmatism

Posted by Robert Merrill on January 14, 2013 under 100 Words, uFunctional Values | Read the First Comment

Pragmatism is about getting the best results I can, with what I have to work with.

Principles are what I stick by even when no one’s looking, and even when they cost me. Read more of this article »

Weaponized Facts, Brutal Facts, & Change

Posted by Robert Merrill on January 7, 2013 under Change Leadership, uFunctional Values | Read the First Comment

“How do you speak to this level of ignorance?” It was a social media friend reacting to a political statement.

The phrase came to me in a flash.

“Well, firing weaponized facts isn’t working so well.”

The air is thick with weaponized facts. Some of them might even be true. But no one seems to be changing their mind about anything. That’s scary, because the brutal facts (Jim Collins, “Good to Great”) tell me we need some pretty big changes.

I aspire to come alongside people and help them face their brutal facts, at their own speed, and make good choices.