Monday, September 27, 2010

How does a techie know when they're learning the business?

[This was originally posted at]

Obviously there's a gradual scale, but here's a brain dump:
  • You can talk to a non-tech person without using tech speak (Your business skills are strong enough that you don't need to "hide" behind your tech skills to bail you out).
  • You can list at least three industry-specific success metrics (besides standards like "revenue" and "profit").
  • You can use business decisions as a "tie-breaker" between technologies.
  • You can prioritize features and defend your reasoning.
  • You know why your CEO or supervisor is upset.
  • You know where your revenue comes from, and how it flows through the company’s various systems and departments. Looking at the production database (that records transactions), you can make an educated guess if this year was financially better than last year.
  • You can read the year-end report.
  • When a new boundary case comes up in the code, you can make an educated guess before verifying with the business analyst. Then you send the business analyst (BA) an email like "I think it's X because of A and B, would that be right?", and the BA can just reply with a "yes" instead of a detailed email correcting all your concepts.