There is a plaque on my wall that has been on every single office wall I’ve had for the past 27 years. It isn’t that I feel the certifications were critical. It is just that they were the very first technology-based certifications I ever got. So I keep the IBM plaque they gave me for completing a bunch of IBM certifications. The funny thing is I have two more, that I never got the little plates for because IBM stopped giving out the plates after roughly 1991 or so. I got two more for Lotus Notes administration, but those were from a different IBM.
That got me thinking, about the value of an expert. In particular, the value of someone that knows the bits and bytes at a level that is critical yet isn’t the only way to solve the problem. I see so many technical problems that could have been solved by talking to a user, or someone that understood the entire process rather than the deep dive expert. Sometimes we forget, that the best view is always different. It is sadly the reality of the expert culture. The mix of people for a great technology team is both the expert and the people that see the entire process. Add to that someone that is looking forward, and you make your team even stronger.
I spend a lot of time talking to experts. I find that they are often very smart and always interesting to talk to, about their knowledge. But they don’t always consider the reality of the business problem they are trying to solve. Yes, all of this spawning from the time that I was trying to be an expert. Now I try to build technology teams, mixing both the expert and the big picture professional into a unit. It doesn’t matter how smart you are; it matters more than you listen! As my father used always to say “you know what an expert is right?” “Ex is someone with a past, and a spert is a drip under pressure.”