Do Other Departments Know What You Do?

  • Craigmeister

    SSC Eights!

    Points: 995

    For a bunch of us, our focus is on doing our job the best we can and our own PR is not what we are about. So we have to specifically, on purpose make "that" a part of our standard operating procedure. I am guessing a result is the communication involved would necessarily make the team stronger. What kinds of things can we do?

  • jay-h

    SSCoach

    Points: 18808

    Users don't understand what we can do from both directions.

    Sometimes they don't realize how much we can do.

    Sometimes they don't realize what we can't do.

    Sometimes that's the same user.

    We recently upgraded an analysis system which freed users from the 64K row limit of older Excel. Sounded like a good idea, but just few DAYS into the switchover testing the same users are angry because multi-million cell reports (I don't know of any human who could digest that) are too much for the system.

    ...

    -- FORTRAN manual for Xerox Computers --

  • Ian Massi

    SSCertifiable

    Points: 5931

    Craigmeister (7/3/2014)


    For a bunch of us, our focus is on doing our job the best we can and our own PR is not what we are about. So we have to specifically, on purpose make "that" a part of our standard operating procedure. I am guessing a result is the communication involved would necessarily make the team stronger. What kinds of things can we do?

    Admittedly, sales and marketing is not one of my strengths so my main method of self-promotion is to help people but without entrenching myself in a "select * from" kind of data provider role. However, I do seek out new and interesting work to put on my plate. I have casual conversations around the office with people and it's very easy to get people to talk about what they do and about their responsibilities they find tedious. I don't typically approach these conversations with that in mind (maybe I should) but if you talk to someone long enough, it'll get there. If there's something I can do to help them, then I'll do what I can and this strengthens the relationship. Do enough of these things and word will make it to the higher ups or they'll seek you out directly for some of these projects. If you find out about a project that could benefit from your data knowledge, you can ask to sit in on a meeting or call where there'll be higher ups and you'll become more visible there. This only works if the office politics allow it. I don't think I've been in a position where I'd be chastised for something like this (if I do, it won't be for long), but I imagine it could happen.

    If anyone reading this has some suggestions on how to increase the visibility of their work, I'd love to know.

  • Jim P.

    SSCrazy Eights

    Points: 8725

    Well my fun was getting my laptop setup for telecommuting. Our company’s HQ is around Toronto. Then we have an office around Cincy that I was working out of. We also have IT staff down here. So I’m asking to get my soft phone and VPN installed. They assigned the ticket to an IT in Toronto and the tech e-mailed me to bring my laptop to room 101 in Toronto. I put in that ticket I’m located in Cincy initially. The tech puts in the ticket the I’m not complying. So I close it.

    Then I open a new ticket explicitly putting in the title I’m in the Cincy office. They assign it to Toronto, again. This time I go over to our IT guy and he pulls it into his name and installs the SW.

    I just wanted to bang my head on the desk. 🙁



    ----------------
    Jim P.

    A little bit of this and a little byte of that can cause bloatware.

  • Gary Varga

    SSC Guru

    Points: 82166

    Jim P. (7/3/2014)


    Well my fun was getting my laptop setup for telecommuting. Our company’s HQ is around Toronto. Then we have an office around Cincy that I was working out of. We also have IT staff down here. So I’m asking to get my soft phone and VPN installed. They assigned the ticket to an IT in Toronto and the tech e-mailed me to bring my laptop to room 101 in Toronto. I put in that ticket I’m located in Cincy initially. The tech puts in the ticket the I’m not complying. So I close it.

    Then I open a new ticket explicitly putting in the title I’m in the Cincy office. They assign it to Toronto, again. This time I go over to our IT guy and he pulls it into his name and installs the SW.

    I just wanted to bang my head on the desk. 🙁

    Toronto Support 0 Cincy Support 1 #ITSupportWorldCup

    Gaz

    -- Stop your grinnin' and drop your linen...they're everywhere!!!

  • chrisn-585491

    SSCoach

    Points: 15866

    Yes, I do my job and their job too!

    All Hail the Data B-----!

    😀

  • aochss

    SSCommitted

    Points: 1677

    All,

    At my current job and in past jobs, the best method for letting people know what is possible is to venture out of the IT area into the users' work spaces.

    This included doing the jobs they do with the technology we created. I learned quickly on how inefficient my interface was when standing on a ladder seven steps up with the handheld computer in one hand and a box in the other. By working at their jobs we get to see the myriad steps and methods the users sometimes use to get around the program's shortcomings.

    We also regularly do a walk-around to see how things are going and to say Hi. A lot of the time, the best time saving suggestions were from users, who when just chatting, mention how cumbersome certain features were. Often the fix was quite easy and saved a ton of their time.

    I agree with other posts. Users seem to be afraid to ask for changes or are uncertain how we will react when asked. A constant reminder is still needed to get them to ask for changes and even more importantly, let us know when there is an error.

    Thanks,

    Anton

  • Gary Varga

    SSC Guru

    Points: 82166

    aochss (7/3/2014)


    ....and even more importantly, let us know when there is an error.

    ...

    I am always amazed when finally told "Oh, it always fails like that" as though it is acceptable.

    I think that a danger is that sometimes we assume that everything is working as expected unless we are told otherwise. This suggests that we are not monitoring enough. Neither logs nor users.

    Gaz

    -- Stop your grinnin' and drop your linen...they're everywhere!!!

  • shoestringdba

    SSCertifiable

    Points: 6206

    Craigmeister (7/3/2014)


    For a bunch of us, our focus is on doing our job the best we can and our own PR is not what we are about. So we have to specifically, on purpose make "that" a part of our standard operating procedure. I am guessing a result is the communication involved would necessarily make the team stronger. What kinds of things can we do?

    Think "customer service" not "PR". This applies to managers, subordinates, other team members as well as everybody on the other end of a support call. In my mind this is critical for help desk and support techs (though all too often lacking), and also helpful for any IT professional.

    I've always summed it up thus:

    Be Direct.

    Be Honest.

    Be Professional.

    And it doesn't hurt to smile every so often.

    ____________
    Just my $0.02 from over here in the cheap seats of the peanut gallery - please adjust for inflation and/or your local currency.

  • shoestringdba

    SSCertifiable

    Points: 6206

    aochss (7/3/2014)


    All,

    At my current job and in past jobs, the best method for letting people know what is possible is to venture out of the IT area into the users' work spaces.

    This included doing the jobs they do with the technology we created. I learned quickly on how inefficient my interface was when standing on a ladder seven steps up with the handheld computer in one hand and a box in the other. By working at their jobs we get to see the myriad steps and methods the users sometimes use to get around the program's shortcomings.

    We also regularly do a walk-around to see how things are going and to say Hi. A lot of the time, the best time saving suggestions were from users, who when just chatting, mention how cumbersome certain features were. Often the fix was quite easy and saved a ton of their time.

    I agree with other posts. Users seem to be afraid to ask for changes or are uncertain how we will react when asked. A constant reminder is still needed to get them to ask for changes and even more importantly, let us know when there is an error.

    Thanks,

    Anton

    Amen. If at all possible, getting out of the chair works wonders.

    ____________
    Just my $0.02 from over here in the cheap seats of the peanut gallery - please adjust for inflation and/or your local currency.

  • kiwood

    Ten Centuries

    Points: 1063

    I believe most of the problems mentioned stem from the IT industry. The lengthy explanations of why something is needed come from dealing with unhelpful "help desk" personel. People manually compiling information from three reports to make what they really want comes from some jerk who ask, "Well can't you just...?"

    I have seen over and over where IT people fail to get out and talk to their users. I watched my lead developer turn out a solution that met the technical requirements as specified by a vendor. In the process, he left the poor department with a huge burden of manually checking which 3 or 4 of say 70 accounts failed to have a credit. Ten minutes of his time and he could have given them what they wanted/needed.

    But the thing is that to really help, we must look beyond and ask why? Why are they doing what they are doing? Only then can we hope to provide them with the best possible solution. And understand that sometimes something was put into place while some long gone person was overwhelmed by other more pressing issues, but said process lived beyond memory of it being temporary.

  • Louis Hillebrand

    SSCarpal Tunnel

    Points: 4036

    +1

    For me it's essential to get the need behind the question,

    The question asked can often be rewritten as: "we do it this way can you do that for us?.",

    just answering this doesn't add anything new, but if we really try to find the real need behind, we can add our knowledge and skills to give the user's the solution they really ask for.

  • Andrew..Peterson

    SSCertifiable

    Points: 6657

    I'd like to think that everyone in an organization is kind, courteous and helpful, but alas it just is not so. So when you wrote on about someone going to great lengths to get assistance, I can say that some companies are just like that. Some are helpful, others are more interested in doing as little as possible. Over time, the doers are known, at least by the staff. And if management is clueless about who makes it happen, and who does not, then I say that is a reason to find a better company.

    The more you are prepared, the less you need it.

  • Jim P.

    SSCrazy Eights

    Points: 8725

    Then another problem that occurs that the users do not know to ask.

    I developed a conversion utility from our old software to the new system. Then a later step is to balance forwards from the old system to the new one. The problem is many times the resident has been discharged or died, but the insurance company or estate still is held responsible to pay.

    So we would send the balance forward file for import, the data services sends back a list of missing residents that weren't imported because of their status. That could be just five or a hundred plus residents. I built a utility in 25 minutes to suck the missing resident id's from a text file and spit out a list text file with basic demographics for import and an Excel SS for them to double check the names too the new SW. :hehe:

    It has saved countless hours. But if I hadn't seen the issue they probably would still be doing it the hard way. 😎



    ----------------
    Jim P.

    A little bit of this and a little byte of that can cause bloatware.

  • webrunner

    One Orange Chip

    Points: 29948

    "It always affects the fantasy baseball league. "

    This is true, deadly serious, and should not be made light of. Except, of course, when the World Cup Pick 'em takes precedence.

    :-p

    - webrunner

    -------------------
    A SQL query walks into a bar and sees two tables. He walks up to them and says Can I join you?
    Ref.: http://tkyte.blogspot.com/2009/02/sql-joke.html

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