The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated – William James

Just a brief quote and a comment this evening to capture a thought that crossed my mind while contemplating  differentiators between the great analyst and the good:

“The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.” – William James

Time and experience have shown me that one of the best ways to cultivate relationships of trust and mutual respect with stakeholders and team members is to actively seek out opportunities – even the small ones – to show appreciation for assistance, and acknowledgment for hard work and a job well done.

I don’t know whether  being appreciative and showing gratitude is best considered a skill or a habit – it may be a little of both. It won’t likely show up in a competency assessment or a job interview,  but it is a rare trait and a real differentiator, and one that I’m confident will give you (and your beneficiaries) great satisfaction as you develop it.

It really is the little things that make a big difference!

I won’t develop it much further this evening, but Heather Mylan-Mains shared another thought on Twitter that I wanted to capture here because I consider  it another key differentiator between the the great and the good analyst. It stems from how we choose to react to inter-personal adversity; those real or perceived slights and mistreatments:

Well said!

What are some other intangibles – traits, if not exactly “skills”, that are real difference makers? Please share them below!

Quoteworthy: Brooks on the Proper Criterion for Success


“If we perceive our role aright, we then see more clearly the proper criterion for success: a toolmaker succeeds as, and only as, the users of his tools succeed with his aid. However shining the blade, however jeweled the hilt, however perfect the heft, a sword is tested only by cutting.”

Fred Brooks

This is a particularly interesting quote when we consider our deliverables as analysts as tools to be used by designers, developers and QA analysts. The measure for our success is, in truth, inseparable from the success of those that use our work to accomplish theirs.

Sure, there are lots of benchmarks and checklists for the forms and aesthetics of good requirements documentation, but what is the benefit of meeting those criteria if we don’t put our delivery team members in a position to succeed?

With that in mind, how successful a toolmaker are you? In what ways could you improve so as to help those who will use what you produce be more successful?