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RE: dba mgt woes

From: Sarah Satterthwaite <>
Date: Thu, 4 Aug 2005 10:32:08 -0400
Message-ID: <>


I have been a manager in the past but found it did not agree with me, so looked for opportunities that did not include those responsibilities.

I work for a man who is about the age of my children. I was the first person he hired as a manager, so I have watched him grow into the job. He has come up through the ranks in this (small) company and has broad knowledge of our systems. He is not only a competent DBA, but a good programmer, systems and network administrator. My position often requires a good deal of application knowledge and I was the first person they hired who did not work with the applications when they started.

I found that when I asked a question, the answer was so complete, there was nothing left for me to figure out. I was having a terrible time learning how things worked. I finally explained to him that he was giving me too much when I asked a question. We actually worked things out so I would state with the question what kind of explanation I thought I needed. A pointer in the right direction, a clarification of the immediate issue, an in depth explanation of an area. This got us over a lot of humps and I think was integral to us developing a very nice working relationship. (I should note that we work at different physical locations, so nearly all the communication is via email). His broad knowledge and desire to be responsive to people has led him to be too helpful to people sometimes. This can lead to "leaned helplessness" on the part of others.

Ask your junior DBA how he learns things. If he can't answer the question, and I would be surprised if he can, ask him to think about it. There are manual people (I'm one to a fault), there are hackers, and there are all the gradations in between. You can then use that information in how you respond to him. Ask him what kind of help he needs to learn how to do it himself.

The thing I found hardest when I was a manager was to let my people do things their way. I had gotten to the manager's spot by doing high quality work. The people working for me did not have the same level of experience, and needless to say, at times it showed. I always had to stop and ask myself whether the work was an adequate solution that was different from the way I would have done it, or really not adequate. Often it was the former when my first reaction was towards the later.

You've gotten a lot of good suggestions. Good luck with molding him into the kind of employee you want to have working for you!


-----Original Message-----

Sent: Wednesday, August 03, 2005 11:33 PM To:
Subject: RE: dba mgt woes


I have recently become a dba manager and I have a small issue.

I have a junior dba new to scripting, sql, plsql, oracle. This scenario has happened a few times:

-I request him to research something and recommend a certain route
-he immediately writes the recommendation to users
-he then writes me asking me how to do it, script it....
-I assist him in finding where to go or if I have a script I give it to
-he has trouble implementing the solution
-he comes back to me with "your process does not work"
-I discover it is how he has implemented it and correct it

It is a frustrating experience and I wonder how to get him to take on the task and see it through to the end.

Any ideas?

When I was a junior dba I would implement something and ususally go a step farther - I would not go back to my boss instead chosing to "figure it out myself".

Now I know why management is called damanagement. It is the same issue as to why children are convinced their parents are crazy. Who do you think pushed them over the edge?

Trying to be supportive, teach how to fish but didn't figure on this interesting personality.

-- Received on Thu Aug 04 2005 - 09:34:15 CDT

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