wadE has previously described his role of project manager being akin to a professional babysitter, and– given that i work with PMs daily– i can\’t disagree. and while he equates my usual business analyst role to living in hell, i would much rather work as a BA for free than be paid to be a PM. i\’m not patient enough for it.

all that said. i now spend only about 25% of my time as a BA, with the rest of my workday being comprised of management activities: employee one-on-ones, resource allocation, finding training opportunities, coaching, mentoring, meeting with product leaders on upcoming projects, etc, etc, etc. i rarely get my hands into the actual work anymore; i do work surrounding the work.

hence: i am a metaworker. you know, how metadata is data about data? more fun examples and etymology here.

while i find this role engaging, it isn\’t necessarily as satisfying as strictly being a BA. i actually created (nerd word coming) artifacts in that role; i could hang my hat on a requirements matrix spreadsheet or a test plan, knowing that i\’ve contributed something. as a manager, it\’s not that simple. it\’s more difficult for me to get a sense that i\’ve added value when the main thing i did for a given day was reallocate one of my team members to another project, or stepped in and resolved a personality conflict between employees, or worked on a development plan for someone on my team to get promoted.

it\’s not that i think i\’m not doing good work. but some days it\’s hard not to feel like middle management overhead. thankfully, though, i have enough people fooled around here to a) keep my job and 2) keep getting paid nicely, so i\’ll deal with my contribution issues. in the meantime, though, i will happily show up daily and be a helpful metaworker.







2 responses to “metawork”

  1. Brian Scott Avatar

    Four in a row – nice. Going for five?

  2. alex Avatar

    I disagree with the use of ‘artifact’ in that context. It sounds like a word used to make a dumb person sound smart (no offense). Then again, most of ‘business-speak’ makes me nauseous.

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