Bridging the gap – Good communication is key

Unfortunately, it’s an all too common event in I.T. these days to hear DBA’s complaining about developers and vice-versa, each not understanding the others point of view. Some time ago now I was approached by a developer to help with a performance issue he was having. We sat down, discussed how the process worked at the moment and then formulated a plan to improve performance by making changes to both the logical and physical level. After making these changes we saw significant performance benefits, not only from this process but other processes scheduled to run at the same time which benefitted from the extra resources that had been released.

I was so impressed by the attitude of the developer and his willingness to learn new approaches that I wanted to share the story with the rest of the IT development team and his managers, so I composed and sent out this email:

Hi all,

Just wanted to share with you some good news:

xxx came to me earlier in the week looking to speed up a process as it was taking far too long to complete. I looked at the plan with him and identified that by adding an index we could shave around 20 seconds off the process. We then looked at the code together and I suggested that it would be beneficial to rewrite the code using SET BASED techniques and outlined a way of creating a parent child relationship prior to writing them to the database without a loop grabbing the last ID.

Using this approach xxx has rewritten the code which took on average 78 seconds down to a much more respectable time of 2.5 seconds in dev, quite an achievement! This just shows the benefit of “SET BASED” over “RBAR” solutions.

Normally in IT we only hear about the bad things that are happening, so this is makes a welcome change. Well done xxx !!!

Rich

 

There were several reasons for sending this. If we dissect this email, we see just how many messages there really are and by communicating this to the team and not just the individual these messages can be spread to a greater audience and therefore have much more impact.

Hi all,

Just wanted to share with you some good news:

The email was started very informally, all too often communication can be draconian affairs. With an opening like this the email is more likely to be read. After all who doesn’t like good news?

xxx came to me earlier in the week looking to speed up a process as it was taking far too long to complete.

I’m approachable, if you have a problem you can come and see me too.

I looked at the plan with him and identified that by …..

I will take time out of my day to help you resolve problems.

We then looked at the code together and I suggested that it would be beneficial to rewrite the code using SET BASED techniques and outlined a way of creating a parent child relationship prior to writing them to the database without a loop grabbing the last ID.

With a fresh pair of eyes I may be able to point you in a different direction leading to a better solution.

This just shows the benefit of “SET BASED” over “RBAR” solutions.

You can never emphasise this enough. Wash, rinse repeat.

Normally in IT we only hear about the bad things that are happening, so this is makes a welcome change. Well done xxx !!!

This is confirmation that good things do happen and if you come to me I am not the type of person to steal the credit when there’s a positive outcome.

With all this in mind, think about your organisation and how using an often neglected soft skill such as communication can help “bridge the gap” between DBA’s and Developers. At the end of the day we’re all SQL professionals and our aim has to be to pull together to provide a better service to our customers.