The Generalizing Specialist: The Key To Success

Generalizing specialist

A generalizing specialist is simply someone who is multi-skilled. Such an individual can be a specialist in one or more technical disciplines while at the same time actively seeks to expand their skill set, which spans across different areas besides their present specialties. Generalizing specialists are also referred to as cross-functional developers, multi-disciplinary developers, and versatilists.

While they can become more skilled with time, don’t mistake them to be super skilled in every discipline. However, their technical knowledge and general software development knowledge, as well as a good understanding of their relevant business domains, can be critical to getting things done in real-time. The person can easily be redeployed based on the changes in business strategy or other necessary requirements to remain competitive.

Benefits being a generalizing specialist

We live in a fast-changing industry, where being a specialist in just a single discipline alone may not cut it in the larger scheme of things. Since generalizing specialists have knowledge on a broad range of issues, they can see the bigger picture and help make better decisions for greater productivity. As such, the available job opportunities will likely be more compared to specialists. Better yet, you will be able to attract better job offers.

Importance of generalizing specialists

Generalizing specialists are essential to developing high-performing agile teams in companies, and here are some of the reasons they are considered the key to success.

• Better collaboration

While a company will have different departments, they will be connected with others and geared towards accomplishing the same end goal. Communication and collaboration within the teams involved are important elements to achieving that goal, and this is something most specialists aren’t good at. When you don’t have a good understanding of how everything fits together, it’s very easy to look down on what your teammates are doing. Working together effectively might prove a challenging task.

Generalizing specialists are more likely to appreciate the work of others simply because they have a good grasp of different technical and domain disciplines. Their background allows them to understand the issues teammates are trying to find solutions to.

• Improved flexibility

The IT industry, by its very nature, faces significant changes that serious businesses must comply with to remain relevant. With a generalizing specialist, dynamic transition and allocation of the new tasks wouldn’t be a huge problem. Things would look quite different if a team is built of specialists that are just accustomed to doing the same type of tasks over and over again. In fact, this is considered to be risky, as it can result in productivity loss.

• Increased efficiency

Generalizing specialists bring less dependency, which can go a long way in increasing efficiency and productivity. The problem when working with specialists is that they can easily become bottlenecks, especially when they have a lot on their plate. There’s a good chance that multiple development teams will be looking up to the specialist, and this can negatively affect the overall team efficiency.

Conclusion

Generalizing specialists are surely taking over. There’s room for some specialists within IT departments, but as things look at the moment, more departments are moving towards becoming more agile. It’s not unlikely to see only a few specialists survive in the information technology industry over time.

Quote – Doing The Work Yourself

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The wise man will commit no business of importance to a proxy when he may do it himself.

— Roger L’Estrange

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The Law of Power

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The Law

The fundamental law of power is that it is situational, multifaceted, dynamic, and perishable.

Power is Situational

Power is without a doubt situational, a person who is very politically powerful, but having no wilderness knowledge or skills, find themselves alone in the middle will have less ability to save themselves, than an experienced woodsman.

Power is Multifaceted

Power has many attributes (social influence, mental reference, innate ability, and situation), which aggregate to provide the total of your power at in given time and in any given situation

Power isDynamic

As a person’s situation changes, their ability to influence the situation can be increased, decreased, and/or lost. Also, facets of power are not static but are morphed by change.

Power isPerishable

A person can, through inaction, lose the ability to influence a situation forever.

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Success – You must love your work?

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Why you should love your work

Sooner or later you will wonder why you are not passionate and energized about your work. At the same time, an inner voice will tell you to suck it up because work is only a four-letter word and you are not supposed to enjoy it.

It is a misconception because loving your work can bring manage benefits. Work should enable and empower, not entrap. Here we have some of the reasons why you should love your work.

Helps with your success

When you love your career, no one can stop you from getting successful. You will do everything that it takes to assure that your customers love what you are offering, and your boss appreciates your every move. You would prefer to collect the appreciation because your every move will be well planned, and you will not be afraid…

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Management Principles – You can’t Manage what you don’t Measure

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Management and Measurement

You can’t manage what you don’t measure is an old management adage that has been used for many years and while most attribute it to Peter Drucker, some claim that the quote was first used by Dr. W. Edwards Deming, although it is a bone of contention whether or not the quote is used in the correct context.

Irrespective of who said it first, I have always agreed with the principle. Coming from a corporate background where this is one of the management principles often used, I was surprised to learn that there are those that strongly disagree with the statement. This group argues that there are many things being managed at work that aren’t measurable, from the confidence we instill in a new, young manager, to the quality of new hires.

The argument is made that quantity is easy…

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Personas Vs. Roles – What Is The Difference?

Personas and roles are user modeling approaches that are applied in the early stages of system development or redesign. They drive the design decision and allows programmers and designers to place everyday user needs at the forefront of their system development journey in a user-centered design approach.

Personas and user roles help improve the quality of user experience when working with products that require a significant amount of user interaction. But there is a distinct difference between technology personas vs. roles. What then exactly is a persona? What are user roles in system development? And, how does persona differ from user roles?

Let’s see how these two distinct, yet often confused, user models fit in a holistic user-centered design process and how you can leverage them to identify valuable product features.

Technology Personas Vs. Roles – The Most Relevant Way to Describe Users

In software development, a user role describes the relationship between a user type and a software tool. It is generally the user’s responsibility when using a system or the specific behavior of a user who is participating in a business process. Think of roles as the umbrella, homogeneous constructs of the users of a particular system. For instance, in an accounting system, you can have roles such as accountant, cashier, and so forth.

However, by merely using roles, system developers, designers, and testers do not have sufficient information to conclusively make critical UX decisions that would make the software more user-centric, and more appealing to its target users.

This lack of understanding of the user community has led to the need for teams to move beyond role-based requirements and focus more on subsets of the system users. User roles can be refined further by creating “user stand-ins,” known as personas. By using personas, developers and designers can move closer to the needs and preferences of the user in a more profound manner than they would by merely relying on user roles.

In product development, user personas are an archetype of a fictitious user that represents a specific group of your typical everyday users. First introduced by Alan Cooper, personas help the development team to clearly understand the context in which the ideal customer interacts with a software/system and helps guide the design decision process.

Ideally, personas provide team members with a name, a face, and a description for each user role. By using personas, you’re typically personalizing the user roles, and by so doing, you end up creating a lasting impression on the entire team. Through personas, team members can ask questions about the users.

The Benefits of Persona Development

Persona development has several benefits, including:

  • They help team members have a consistent understanding of the user group.
  • They provide stakeholders with an opportunity to discuss the critical features of a system redesign.
  • Personas help designers to develop user-centric products that have functions and features that the market already demands.
  • A persona helps to create more empathy and a better understanding of the person that will be using the end product. This way, the developers can design the product with the actual user needs in mind.
  • Personas can help predict the needs, behaviors, and possible reactions of the users to the product.

What Makes Up a Well-Defined Persona?

Once you’ve identified user roles that are relevant to your product, you’ll need to create personas for each. A well-defined persona should ideally take into consideration the needs, goals, and observed behaviors of your target audience. This will influence the features and design elements you choose for your system.

The user persona should encompass all the critical details about your ideal user and should be presented in a memorable way that everyone in the team can identify with and understand. It should contain four critical pieces of information.

1. The header

The header aid in improving memorability and creating a connection between the design team and the user. The header should include:

  • A fictional name
  • An image, avatar or a stock photo
  • A vivid description/quote that best describes the persona as it relates to the product.

2. Demographic Profile

Unlike the name and image, which might be fictitious, the demographic profile includes factual details about the ideal user. The demographic profile includes:

  • Personal background: Age, gender, education, ethnicity, persona group, and family status
  • Professional background: Occupation, work experience, and income level.
  • User environment. It represents the social, physical, and technological context of the user. It answers questions like: What devices do the user have? Do they interact with other people? How do they spend their time?
  • Psychographics: Attitudes, motivations, interests, and user pain points.

3. End Goal(s)

End goals help answer the questions: What problems or needs will the product solution to the user? What are the motivating factors that inspire the user’s actions?

4. Scenario

This is a narrative that describes how the ideal user would interact with your product in real-life to achieve their end goals. It should explain the when, the where, and the how.

Conclusion

For a truly successful user-centered design approach, system development teams should use personas to provide simple descriptions of key user roles. While a distinct difference exists in technology personas vs. roles, design teams should use the two user-centered design tools throughout the project to decide and evaluate the functionality of their end product. This way, they can deliver a useful and usable solution to their target market.

What Is A Competitor Battle Card?

Writing and The Written Word

In theory, competitor battle cards
are not that hard to put together. All it takes is a little bit of content to
use to persuade clients in a sales environment. What many people find is that
being concise is a challenge. It takes some time and practice, but with a
little bit of planning and overall know-how about the industry, any person can
start putting together cards that work.

What are
competitor battle cards?

The simplest way to describe
competitor battle cards is that they are short, to the point pieces of
information about a business that paints them in a positive light directly
against the competition. Videos, graphs, spreadsheets and simple text are all
used on different cards.

Once these battle cards are put
together, they are given to the entire sales team. When they are in any…

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