If I were to choose one thing to tell my younger IT professional self, it would be “know your business.” That could mean many things, but what I’m talking about is make sure you have a solid understanding of the following:
Expectations – make sure that what you are doing is what is wanted/expected
Your role – in your team, your organization, and your company
Your value – what you bring to the table that others appreciate
The numbers – any numbers about you, your role, your job, and what you deliver that others look at or that guide business decisions
Measurements – related to numbers; what gets measured gets done, so know the key performance indicators
Money – how it effects your position, your team, your organization, how budgets are decided, and what gets tracked
I have worked with too many people in my careers that have flawed thinking. A lot of it stems from not knowing the business of what they do. They could be subject matter experts at X, but still not be successful. Knowing your business helps you to see the “big picture” in a light that will help you understand what decisions are being made, why they are being made, and what decisions are likely to be made in the future when Y happens. Many IT professionals complain that management just doesn’t get it; however, perhaps a more useful approach is to ask how management is looking at things.