I help people make decisions.
That’s it in a nutshell. When someone asks what I do for a living, it boils down to one simple thing: I help people make decisions.
All sorts of people. My team, colleagues, leaders, customers, and other interested parties.
I assist with different types of decisions, including: organizational, technological, political, operational and developmental decisions. For the most part I am not responsible for the execution of the decision, nor the evaluation of its success or failure. I’m also not responsible for the complete decision, nor the variety of factors and processes needed to conclude on a decision.
My role in decision making is focused almost exclusively on providing INPUT to a decision. A point of view. A perspective. An opinion. ADVICE.
Advice comes in many EXPERIENCE-based flavours. Creating context. Putting ideas into context. Relating a decision to other decisions. Building consensus and understanding.
Understanding is rooted not just in experience but also in EXPERTISE. Formal and informal education. Reading and writing. Talking and teaching.
Experience and expertise are APPLIED as advice in several ways. Asking clarifying questions. Leading the conversation. Resolving a disagreement. Relating a similar experience. Describing a solution.
The combination of experience and expertise, demonstrated in the QUALITY of our advice is unique, in as much as everyone is unique. We have all different combinations of education, career choices, project assignments, and problems we have either created or helped solve. Anyone’s individual uniqueness is incomparable to others. One can’t be uniquely better than someone else.
However, one can be demonstrably more valuable based on their ability to DEMONSTRATE the quality of the advice they provide. Significant quality of demonstration creates appellation. Master of Specialty. Expert. Trusted Advisor.
As technologists we are known by many titles: developer, consultant, architect, administrator and operator. Titles aside, we also fill many roles : presales, development, implementation, and support.
Title defines our role in the organization, but let us instead be judged on the impact of the advice we deliver.