Tuesday, October 26, 2010

"Twelve Tips for Managing Geeks"

Here is a link to an article that I put in my favourites years ago.

I think it is important for Library staff and the IT staff to be on good terms. 

Twelve Tips for Managing Geeks
February 8, 2007
by Rob England


Being a geek-type person myself, I laughed again as I re-read it the article today.  I agree with what he says.  I think it must be great to work with him.  I try to focus on what is useful for the users of the database.

Two of the engineers that I knew, would greet each other by saying - "I got a new _______".  It did not matter in the least what word followed the word "new".  The other would immediately say "When can I see it ?"  "Can I borrow the manual ?" Of course, a visit would be arranged.  I feel the same excitement that they did.  Doesn't matter if it's a pump, engine, hardware, software, interface, application etc.

Back in 1970 at Dal U., - in the days of punch cards and main frame computer - two of my 2nd year math student friends used to earn $500 for writing programs for some of the professors.  They also wrote programs for students. The money was nice - but it was really about the challenge to learn more.  Great fun was had spending many hours trying to sort out errors until a program would run properly.

My friends would say - "I'll have that ready for you in a week" - when they fully expected to have it ready the next day.  That way they never had disappointed clients and were only under the pressure that they put upon themselves.  Trust me - they'd still be at the project intensely - maybe work all through the night - until it was done.  In those days, your program (stacks of punch cards) got put in a queue and run when the operators got to it.  It was a matter of pride among my friends to keep track of how many hours it took each time to create a program that ran with no errors.

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