Don’t fence me in

When I meet new people in a social context, the conversation inevitably comes round to careers.

It generally goes something like this. Imagine the scene – a sophisticated cocktail party (well, actually probably more likely a dirty old pub)…

“So what do you do?”

“I work in IT.”

“Oh, so you work with computers.”

“No, I work with people. They do use computers most of the time. But mainly my job’s about getting people to work together, solving their problems, removing hassles, helping people see the wood for the trees, finding better ways to do things, avoiding risks and sharing my experience of what works and what doesn’t in software development.”

And then there’s the new people I meet in a business context. Imagine, if you will, a recruitment agent’s office…

“So what are you?”

“What do you mean?”

“What are you? A project manager, a business analyst, an architect?”

“Yes.”

“What do you mean ‘yes’?”

“I mean that yes, I do all those things. But I’m not one of those things. Everything I do is coloured by all those disciplines. Having had experience of them all, it’s just natural to take the cool things from each, and use them to solve problems. So as a PM I manage projects with an understanding of the business requirements and the architecture. As a BA I analyse requirements considering the overall product’s architecture, and understanding the project schedules, budgets and quality thresholds. As an Architect I design solutions and enterprises with an understanding of how my high level view will be drilled into by business analysts, and how my architecture must be realistic, pragmatic and deliverable from a project viewpoint. I can be anything you want me to be.”

You may have guessed that most of my work doesn’t come through recruitment agents 🙂

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