Mind-Shifting Tridionauts

Once in awhile you get the opportunity to spend time with people that shift your perspective.
I got the opportunity to meet several mind-shifting Tridionauts while delivering training in the office last week. We reviewed the difference between SDL Tridion 2011 and past versions before their BA certification exams. In a future post, I'll tell you how to pass the SDL Tridion Business Analysis Exam. ;-)
I helped consultants with much more experience than me, got a refresher lesson from a colleague, and reminisced about my own TridionWorld schooling.

Consulting Up

As daunting as it seems, I was able to help fellow consultants that had up to three times my experience. How?
  • Be honest. Since we can't possibly know everything, by admitting what we don't know, we can focus on how we can help. It's easy enough to reference documentation, test on the fly, or even google the occasional question.
  • Share what you do know. We all have a unique perspective on IT, software, and consulting. Sometimes we're so familiar with what we know, we forget people don't know, think, or understand things the same way.
  • Help them achieve what they need. Just like consulting, you need to help your audience deliver results, learn something, or achieve their goals.
Thanks to "trainees" Kory, Lisa, Mark, and Nakele for the challenge. Hopefully we learned something interesting and useful.

Don't be mislead by the saying, "Those who can, do; those you can't, teach; and those that really can't, consult." The ability to teach is a distinct set of skills from practitioners (learn about the Peter Principle). The ability to consult, to listen to business problems, and to avoid the urge to jump to solutions, is something altogether.

Focus on the Business Problems

I also had a chance to touch base with colleague Mark Young. He was able to help me take a step back to take a business approach to what I thought was a technical problem in managing projects (and he didn't even need a white board to draw anything out). I was looking for ways to better manage some code I had, assuming the answer was some project and/or source control software.

He pointed out that you need to look at the environment the code lives in at first, get that managed, then tackle the pieces within in as time permits, ideally with an approach that fits those involved. We do this all before naming off familiar software packages. And I swear I already knew we shouldn't jump to solutions.

It's a Small (Tridion) World

I had an opportunity to meet and thank Tridionaut Nakele, for her work in getting a certain Tridion forum started way back when. The TridionWorld forum first guided me, as a fledgling Tridionaut in 2008. That forum gave me permission to join the ranks of Tridion subject matter experts and literally changed the direction of my career.


I'm far from being the best, but originally the Tridion forum and now this blog have been my answers to the question, how can I help? What can I contribute? What do customers and fellow consultants ask about? And what interesting thing can I break now? :-)
Five short years later and I'm working with some of the biggest WCM customers, important internal projects, and the most fascinating Tridionauts. I'm a "brand defender" and hope to keep helping five, ten, or more years (you know, before the singularity changes everything).

Link Propagation

Okay, one small tip for the SDL Tridion BA Exam and for when you want to next stump your fellow Tridionaut. Publishing a component in Tridion, republishes items that use that component, with an exception: components embedded dynamically on pages don't cause the page to republish. Though your templates may publish multimedia components, this isn't because of Tridion's default resolving behavior.

Meme Propagation

Just like SDL Tridion's default publishing behavior, when you publish (share), it's not about the people you rely on or are watching. It's about the people that rely on you or your actions, looking for guidance, relying on your thought leadership. Even if you don't know about them. Even if they don't know how exactly you helped them.
Unlike Tridion, you don't have Where Used and may not realize that some 8 years after setting up a forum, some brand new Business Analyst would stumble upon it, meet some great mentors, and eventually share enough to win a global award. Which in turn gave him permission to try a career as a professional Tridionaut, making him eligible to actually train one of the people that set up that forum. Whew, glad there was no time travel involved.
So, Nakele and whoever else responsible, thanks for taking the time to shift the minds of your colleagues to start the forum. That simple meme that "sharing Tridion information is a Good Thing," means a lot to me personally.


And maybe the next Good Thing may mean something to those just joining the Tridion World Universe. A few spots left before the Tridion Stack Exchange Beta launches. Consider joining before it takes off!
Update: the site hit 100% but can still use more committers. It will enter a hopefully short closed beta (maybe a week?) then stay in open beta until we prove we're a viable community. With roots going back to at least 2000, do you doubt it?
Didn't realize we'd hit beta in a few short hours.
Congrats to the SDL Tridion community, the 321 committers, and
Dave Houlker for getting the whole thing started.

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