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Author's profile photo Former Member

Technical people with soft skills – no really? Sapteched is there for you in 2012

So your going to SAP Teched 2012…   So you are ready.  Your bags are packed.  Your schedule is done.  You know just what you want to do and where you want to be.   Ha!   We all know schedules change.   Anyway…

You are a technical person.  I am a technical person.   We must not need to know how to interact with users, functional people, and well just people.   We are heads down programmers.   REALLY?   Are you?   Is that all you want to be?

You can read the blogs.  Talk with the recruiters or look at your current job.    Or you already know…  Technical people HAVE to have the soft skills.  It is a must in our every day lives.   And so….

Yes, there is a point to all of this.   SAP Teched has some cool sessions.  But did you see a little known session / informal get together?    The Role of Empathy in Design thinking?  

What!  You’ve seen it.  It doesn’t sound like you.  You are a developer.  <gasp>  Developers at Teched, I would never have guessed.   Well of course Marilyn Pratt explains it best.  Do click on the link above.  The goal of this blog is not to explain anything.   That’s what makes it so easy to write.

Basically the goal of this blog is to think about things from a developer’s point of view.  Here is what I do at my job.  I bet you do a lot of this too.

  1. I create design specifications – either technical or functional.
  2. I code.
  3. I prototype.
  4. I teach – mentor.
  5. I attend many meetings.
  6. I work with the end user.
  7. I work with functional type people who create functional specifications.
  8. I create and run unit tests.
  9. I revise code

Mmmmm…  The above list doesn’t look like much.   But look at it again.   How much time do I spend on my code?  Hopefully only around 25% of my day.   What!  Not 100%, not more.   Honestly some days are heads down coding.  They have to be.  I am a developer.   But if I have a good idea of what I want to program,  I can actually deliver a better first product.  This limits the need for the round and round or reprogramming.  You know.  You code.  You deliver it.  They don’t like XYZ.  You recode.   AHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And so what can help?   Well those soft skills come in real handy.   So this event will increase your soft skills.   Make you think in a different and fun way.   It will make it easier to get those questions answered.  Limit that recoding.  You have to love that.

Yes, I am technical.   I attended a similiar event to this last Teched, and learned so much.   I have stories to share, and no time time type them up.  I’m going to Teched.  I have a lot of work to finish.    I still have my own presentation to tweak.    <Sigh>   But I’ll be at the event!!   I’d love to share my experience.   It is all positive.   You – yes you, you technical person reading this.  You should come to  – if time allows. 

Why?  Learning, networking, fun!   The top three reasons of course.    I’m looking forward to this Teched event.  Hope to see you there!

If not, as always, stop anywhere to say hi.  I’m shy enough I may not stop you.   I’m getting better, but sometimes I sit quietly in a corner.   That’s good too.  But feel free to say hi.

I know this blog is all  over the place.  But what can I say?  I’m excited for Teched!!!!!   Yes – I’ll be there!

Oh and what do I look like?  I hate photos – but for you.   Here’s a recent photo:


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      Author's profile photo Tammy Powlas
      Tammy Powlas

      Soft skills - the overlooked part

      I can definitely feel your excitement in this blog.

      Safe travels, Michelle.  I am sure many will say "hi".

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Blog Post Author

      I hope so.... One of the million things I love about Teched.   Meeting up with people.   New and old.   You know that song from elementary goes thru my head.

      "Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold!"  

      See you soon,


      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member


      Your day is sounding a lot like mine, except if you are already packed, you are way ahead of me 🙂

      I agree, this session promises to be every bit as exciting as last year's Design Thinking workshop, and I too am looking foward to it. Rounding out technical skills with soft skills can only make us better developers/ system config and admins.

      Safe travels, and see you soon!


      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Blog Post Author

      Bags are slowly getting packed.  I had to make sure I didn't have to buy anything.  Yes, I loved last years session as well!

      See you soon - happy travels,


      Author's profile photo Heike van Geel
      Heike van Geel

      Hi Michelle,

      Great blog! You are such an inspiration!

      I started calling those "soft skills" actually "quality skills" as they make the difference in quality, the quality of the job that needs to be done. From a biz perspective it does not end with delighting the users - reality is also that the biz wants to be most efficient and able to make informed and often fast decisions to get a job done.

      Empathy should be applied to everybody in the workplace, we have to practice empathy with one another, meaning with all the different worker bees that are needed to get the job done. The good news, i truly believe in, everybody wants to do the best job, but we are stuck deep down in our domains of expertise and need to be reminded that the quality skills allow us to truly apply that expertise.

      Looking forward to collab during InnoJam 🙂



      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Heike,

      Yes - Me too!  I can't wait to get there.  I wish I had an earlier flight.

      Empathy is an amazing thing...   It can help you feel "their pain".  

      Just think - you've written great code.  The only problem is that the person using the code has to go to just one other screen to get some data.   Not a big deal.  Really, I mean it would cost a lot more to maintain the extra code.   It would take me a couple of days to pull the information in the correct way, and it would be a performance hit.  So the solution was technically sound.    And it made perfect sense to not write those 500 extra lines of code.

      So your done, right?  Nope.   The person next to you has to work 12 hours a day just to get their work done.   Two clicks could mean 2 hours a day.   Are you going to tell them that your design works better, and those two clicks aren't that many?

      Sorry to say on a bad day - I have.  Of course, I learned rather quickly that two clicks do make a difference.   I was on someone's bad list for a while.

      Empathy - yes, it could - for me, also be called think before you speak.  Listen before you talk.  

      I have lots of stories...........  Good and bad.

      It's going to be a great week!