Managing Customers

I support multiple projects and at times, I support other DBAs and their projects when they are either on leave or simply need assistance. Establishing credibility and trust with your customer is crucial if you plan on having a successful and long career.

Let me explain a little more. We have certain processes in place to deploy updates to applications and the database associated with them. They were created to maintain order (and tracking) in an otherwise un-orderly pursuit to push new code and changes at will. There are also minimum time frames that must be observed. Code is not developed in a vacuum and I have yet to meet a developer with the ability to wave a magic wand and create code instantly.

I do my best to make sure all my customers are aware of and fully understand the processes and time requirements in place. I work with the project managers; build managers and the developers so they know what their responsibilities, and what is expected of them to have a successful application run in our environment.

Do things go wrong? Yes they do. Are the rules broken from time to time? Yes they are. But how and to what extent they are bent or broken can be up to you as long as everyone is aware of the rules from day one and you also make sure they are aware the rules are flexible (as well as you) at certain times.

If you understand the rules and work with me I am very flexible and willing to go the extra mile. If you constantly or never follow the rules, even the simplest of them I will do what is required and when things fail (and they always do with certain projects) then they fail and everyone is made aware.

I have gone out of the way with some of my projects to fix code when errors are through during deployment and reported (to the PMs and other dignitaries on email threads) that all went ok. Then send separate emails to the developer(s) with the errors and the fixes I made. This has reduced the amount of errors produced in several projects. Should I do it with the others? I have, seems they just have not got it yet.

So establishing rules to live by for customers up front will help you manage customers in the long run and actually help your career along the way.

Cheers!

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