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Soft Skills Aid in Application Development Projects

Bill Mitalski | | July 23, 2015

Database administrators serve an essential role in helping to develop applications and are central to the process because they are most familiar with the data on which the applications are based. But they must also use their soft skills to solve tough issues in the development process.

Soft skills like being a team player, accepting of feedback and flexibility are key to a successful DBA working on developing applications. These skills help ensure a successful project.

A database administrator can guide and coordinate the development of such projects, acting as an architect to bring together all the disparate pieces of a project while keeping in mind the bigger picture (what business challenge the application should solve) and moving the process through to completion. Soft skills can help you, as the DBA, keep common obstacles from affecting the productivity of the development team. The first step is to treat developers as peers from the outset.

The Communicator

It’s important to strive toward an environment in which collaboration can allow all participants to contribute their best work. Many database administrators, architects, and even engineers have development backgrounds. This knowledge can help you develop empathy with your colleagues by attempting to understand what drives each person on the team and keeping that in mind as you communicate with them.

Code review can become a contentious interaction between developers and the DBA, fraught with tension and conflict. But it doesn’t have to be that way. During a code review, it is the developer’s job to explain to a database administrator—or whoever is in charge of the development project—what their code does while the project leader is looking at it. This requires tact, patience, and flexibility, all soft skills, on the part of the project leader in order for the code review process to move forward effectively.

The Team Player

When team members feel comfortable coming to you, they will seek your opinion and approach you as a peer, making the application more enjoyable and rewarding to work on. It will ultimately help your team produce the most useful applications possible for the benefit of the organization.

But this also means you are recognized as a team player. Database administration is often a solitary job and our skills can become rusty over time. It’s important to do your best to be a team player and encourage that attitude among your team.

The Listener

Often overlooked but always valued is someone who listens. Your goal is to have your application development team trust that you are actively listening and digesting that information before making decisions that will impact the momentum of the project. Remember how it feels to have someone make a decision that affects you before they have all the facts.

Speeding App Development with Remote DBAs

Generally speaking, it’s a headache as a DBA to be brought into an application development project after it’s already begun. It slows the project and makes more work for the already over worked DBA. When application developers know that your soft skills match your excellent technical skills they are more likely to bring you into the project during its conception.

Our latest white paper, Dev Ops: How DBAs Can Help Speed Application Developmentdetails why and when DBAs should be involved in DevOps and application development. The white paper also covers some of the functions DBAs serve during development.

If you need help with this or other application development issues, please contact Datavail for more information on how we might best support you and your organization with custom solutions tailored to your specific needs.

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