What is the Most Important Skill for an Oracle APEX Consultant?

I've recently had the opportunity to reflect on what makes a great, not just good, but great Oracle APEX consultant. Michael, a principal at C2, recently announced that he's moving on to another opportunity. Michael has been with C2 for over a decade and we will miss him--though we're certain we'll stay in touch. Over the years I've seen many a client shed a tear, literal salty trembling teardrops, when Michael rolled off a project. It's part of the consulting life cycle--if we do a project correctly, we eventually hand it off and move on. I've seen those same clients rejoice when Michael returned to accomplish something new, just to shed another tear at his inevitable departure. I admit, I anticipate the same will happen with me upon his last day.

As I recalled these moments, wondering how to fill Michael's role on our team, I reflected on what made Michael both so well liked and so effective. Fulfilling the buzz-words of the day, Michael is certainly an accomplished full-stack developer on Oracle's low-code Application Express development platform. He is not our absolute best SQL, PL/SQL, HTML, Java, Javascript, [pick your tech] developer. He is accomplished in most, though, and knows when and who to ask when he needs the absolute best. This certainly makes him highly effective. It makes him good--really good, as good as can be expected. But it's not what makes him great.

Better than just about anyone, Michael listens. Michael listens because he respects the person who is talking, he understands that the business user's time is valuable, that the client knows what they want--even if they need a little assistance formulating what that is. Michael, hears what someone is saying, processes it, reformulates it, solutions in his mind just enough to know if he needs to ask a follow up question, but not so much as to miss the next point. Michael takes notes, because he values the client's time--he wants to get exactly what was said. Occasionally, Michael checks in to clarify that he understood a statement, or to make sure that the solution he very loosely formulated meets an expectation--or perhaps might meet an expectation enough that it might save significant development time. It's that balance that sets Michael apart as a great APEX consultant. He would be great with any technology. APEX has a unique position in the development world--it's ability to rapidly transform a business requirement into a functioning solution. Michael's ability to sprinkle just a little bit of solutioning into his thought process, while actively listening, while making sure that the client knows he is listening, while taking notes and respecting the value of other peoples' time, makes him a great APEX consultant.

It also makes Michael a great friend. Godspeed.