Archive for January, 2010|Monthly archive page

One Thousand Hats

What is your job?


My title is business analyst.  My job is business analyst, designer, documentation monkey, trainer, customer proxy, mediator, product owner, Soothing, Reassuring Voice (I make the screencasts), product evangelist, exploratory tester, and surely more that I am blocking from my mind right now.

My title is simply my title.  It is nothing more than a word.

There are a lot of hats that I wear that I don’t like, but there are also a lot that I do.  However, I realize that it is important within the realm of my team and our products that I wear all of these hats.  My deep knowledge of the workflows, that I get from the customers and build as I write specifications for development, comes in very handy when I am acceptance testing something at the end to see how a user will be using it. 

I think that everyone in our industry wears a lot of hats.  Or if they don’t, maybe they should be.

In my experience, developers hate testing.

In my experience, code that developers write tests for fails significantly less than code written without tests.  Even building what you wrote right after you’re done to make sure it works is testing.  There have been many times where I’ll take the first action to make something happen (“click a button”) and it immediately blows up.  Not cool.

In my experience, developers hate talking to people (read: me).

In my experience, communicating with product owners, business analysts, and in general, everyone on your team, builds a really great product.  No assumptions, no guesses, no lack-of-thought, coding-in-the-dark jazz.  Talking to testers will give you good feedback about what’s going on and make sure that you solve the whole problem instead of patching parts of it, talking to your BA to make sure you’ve got a grasp on what the story really means and ensure that you are building what is being asked for.

We don’t always like all of our jobs, but how often can you find a job where you 100% love everything?  You may love locking yourself in a room and writing code for a week, but how much do you love coming back and rewriting stuff to fix bugs and build things to specification?

Writing code is only part of the job of a developer, much like making coffee is only part of a barista’s job, or answering phones is only part of a client service rep’s job, or selling products is only part of a sales rep’s job.

You gotta do what you gotta do to get the job done thoroughly and accurately.

Happily or begrudgingly, you gotta wear those hats.