As I was re-bingeing season 1 to prep for The Witcher’s season 2 release next Friday, I couldn’t help but see the parallels between Geralt of Rivia and our friendly neighborhood operations professional. Wait, that’s the wrong reference. (Probably because I’m excited for Spiderman: No Way Home also releasing next Friday.)
Regardless, the fact still remains that being a Witcher is often a thankless, albeit necessary job. And the same is true more often than not for the ops pros toiling away for our organizations’ greater good. Don’t believe me? Here are just a few reasons why you should “toss a coin” (and some hugs) to your ops pro every time you see them.
Ops Fights Data & Process Monsters Daily
We’ve broached the topic of data monsters before, but the operations landscape has already evolved since we last talked about it in April — and it’s only made the monsters stronger. While data may have been “just” a 3-headed dragon before, a whole host of beasts have joined the menagerie ops pros now have to combat on a regular basis.
From unclean and unruly data to inefficient processes and conflicting priorities, operations have to fight battles on so many different fronts each and every day that it’s a full-time job just figuring out what to tackle first.
There Are More Layers to Ops Than You Think
If you’re a fan of The Witcher, you may be asked just which Witcher are you a fan of? While viewers were introduced to several Witchers in the show — who prescribe to different schools of training — some fans may not realize there’s another level of depth. Not only is there a series of video games, but serving as the source material for both the video games and the Netflix series is a lengthy 8-book saga by Andrzej Sapkowski.
And so yet again, the parallels between the Witcher series and the operations industry are apparent. Operations comes with its own complexities and layers, including both what “school” they subscribe to as well as the type of work they do. From marketing and sales to customer support and revenue, operations professionals can fall within any number of — even multiple — categories. The operations industry is also undergoing a revolution as organizations change the way they approach data and the tech stacks that help run and grow the business. As such, operations are constantly evolving the definition of what projects they are responsible for, let alone their moniker.
Ops Has Many Tools at Their Disposal
Depending on your source material — TV show, games, or books — Witchers rely on more than their wits for fighting fiends. From both steel and silver swords to magic signs (spells), oils, and potions, there are myriad ways Geralt can solve a problem. In the modern world of fighting data monsters, operations — luckily — have their own inventory of beast-slaying tools and tactics.
In fact, one of the most effective practices for both Witchers and operations is their intuition and knowledge. Both professions require logic and benefit from experience, with the most successful always pursuing new challenges and striving to learn something new.
Ops Can Be Lonely
As we saw many times over the course of season 1, Witchers are more often alone — their trusty steed notwithstanding — than not. And unfortunately, the same is true for operations. The roles and responsibilities of the operations professional mean they may work with a wide range of others in the organization. But they easily find themselves at odds with their colleagues on what the best solution to the problem is, not just the easiest or the quickest. Remember the rule of the hydra: sure, you can cut off one of its heads, but 2 more will eventually grow back in its place and cause even more trouble.
This means operations is usually stuck fighting menial monster after monster — alone — while also struggling to align those around them about the right way to solve the problem. By the time the larger and more complex monsters rear their ugly heads, it’s only that much more difficult for operations to yet again save the day.
Why Not Toss More Than a Coin?
So, just as the bard Jaskier helped Geralt of Rivia finally earn recognition for all his great feats, our humble ops pros could use your help in feeling appreciated. Let’s be honest, most of you probably aren’t able to literally augment your operations’ salaries, but you can help them when it comes to their experience with you. (It also goes without saying that if you do have the ability to give something monetarily, I’m sure they’d welcome that, too.)
Instead of requesting a task of them the day before it’s due, make sure you give them more lead time. Did they do a good job? Then tell them! Even just a quick “thank you” over Slack or shout out in a team call can do wonders for strengthening your relationship with ops and help them feel valued.