Monday, April 27, 2015

Dear Mr. or Ms. Recruiter

I get calls all the time from recruiters wanting to know if I'm interested in this or that Tableau job. Most often it involves the opportunity to go and be a Tableau developer somewhere. It's even possible to triangulate which company is moving forward with their Tableau efforts from the three very similar calls I get within a 24 hour period. They go like this:

Ring, Ring
me: Hello

them: Hello, I'd like to speak to Chris, please.

me: That's me.

them: Hello, Chris. My name is Lotso Letters, how are you today.

me: I've very well, how are your?

them: I'm very well Chris thankyouforasking.
Chris, I'm calling because there is an opportunity for a Tableau developer and can I submit you for the position and how little will you work for?

me: To tell the truth, I'm probably not interested, but if it's a truly exceptional opportunity I may be.
What are the particulars?

them: SDLC, process, development, build dashboards, support Tableau Server, etc.

them: How much is your rate?

me: My rate is $X

them: Let me talk to my manager and see if the client is willing to pay that.

At which point the conversation is essentially dead.

I can appreciate that people are trying to make money off of the commoditization of my profession, and it's been coming for a long time, but it still stings that Tableau is being misused to the degree that it is.

So when I received another missive from someone wanting to know if I was interested in a Tableau developer position, I wrote the following.

Hello {name}. Thanks for your note, but I'm not interested in being a developer of any kind.

I've been doing business data analysis for a long, long time, and I'm firmly convinced that the idea that satisfying business needs for information from data is an activity that ends up with someone developing something someone else thought up in response to someone else's thoughts about what yet another person needs, in the traditional SDLC paradigm, is just flat wrong.

My career started with establishing direct intimate relationships with business people, using 4GLs to create the reports they needed. Without developers (COBOL programmers in those days). I was lucky enough to get to work for the leading 4GL software vendor, for managers who knew that business consulting is more important than technical contracting. We got to go to work every single day and deliver the information people needed without layers and layers of people and technology getting in the way.

That world faded into obscurity with the advent of Big BI, where building massive data cathedrals became the point. But it's coming back, and Tableau is leading way. In Fact, a very good argument can be made that the good world is coming back because of Tableau's leadership in demonstrating that it's possible.

As a Tableau consulting practice manager, and an avid and enthusiastic Tableau devotee since 2006, I get to go to work and help my clients move away from the analysis/design/develop/test/deliver SDLC-based paradigm that at best delivers a very thin slice of the universe of possibilities, and generally does more harm than good. (but it does line the pockets of the traditional Big BI contracting firms who are getting better at "re-purposing" traditional BI people into their clients' organizations as Tableau developers.

Although the world is moving in the right directing of bridging, even eliminating the gap between people and the data they need to understand, there are very powerful, very conservative forces, that are trying to maintain the bad old ways and keep as many thumbs in the pie as possible. To the degree they succeed in impeding, co-opting, blunting, or otherwise diminishing the possibilities that Tableau (and its cousins, including those not yet born) brings, they'll make more money even as they fail deliver nearly the value the organization should be receiving.

If you're clients are interested in truly taking advantage of the full spectrum of opportunities and possibilities Tableau offers I'd be happy to talk to them and see how I can help. Otherwise, thanks again for your note, but I'm not interested in helping companies do the wrong thing.

Wonder if they'll keep calling.

1 comment:

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