New equipment sometimes means hurt feelings

New equipment sometimes means hurt feelings.

Let me give you an example. I once worked at a company that was pretty cheap. They didn’t spend money on regularly refreshing their equipment, so it was years old and very slow.

One day I was asked to upgrade some people to have two monitors instead of a tiny 15 inch one they had. As I did this, many people asked me if they were getting a monitor. I said that I had a list and only the people on the list got one. So there were lots of hurt feelings because they didn’t feel important enough to get a second monitor.

So guess what? A few days later one of the older monitors breaks. Now in any other company this would be an opportunity to just upgrade it with the new larger monitor. However in this case the political climate was to get the permission of their manager so that any hurt feelings could be addressed before this was done. Interesting isn’t it? Normally you would just replace something that is broken and let people deal with it as best they can.

In one way this is nice. It is nice that a company is aware of peoples feelings. In another way this is kind of treating people like children. Children don’t have the emotional capability of regulating their feelings like adults show, so you have to treat them more gently than an adult.

Of course the next day the monitor got replaced. However I see this happen in every company. Once someone gets something, everyone else seems to need it too.

It is a fascinating thing to watch. The person with the broken monitor said how terrible it would be if her monitor broke. Now that it did, she seemed kind of upset and nervous about the attention she would attract. She did attract attention.

It is ok to have feelings at work. However if your neighbor gets a new monitor or whatever, it doesn’t mean that you are less valuable. It just means people make decisions for reasons we aren’t always aware of.

Enabling people to help themselves with IT issues

Part of working in IT is fixing issues, and the other part is enabling people to help themselves with IT issues.

I was working in a company that was chronically understaffed. This caused many departments to really work hard. It always seemed there were emergencies at this company. One of the frustrating parts of working there is that people often needed things done immediately for valid reasons.

Enabling people to help themselves with IT issuesOne day I was working on an important thing for one coworker and another coworker asked me to do something equally valid. I didn’t have enough time to do both, so I explained this to my boss and with the coworker. The solution that I came up with is to have that coworker do part of the work himself, which he readily agreed to.

I was able to explain the manual work that needed to be done, and he was capable and willing to do it. He accepted the consequences and got right to work. He was able to make it work.

Now normally in every other company I have worked at, the IT department has exclusive IT control. Not in this company. It was distributed in a way I have never seen before. So that’s why I suggested this strategy. It turns out that you can limit the roles that you give to users in IT and even not IT people can do IT related stuff.

This is very popular concept that is called self-service. Many CIO people like the fact that they can reduce IT support staff by giving people the ability to do common IT tasks themselves. Like reset their password, or order computer equipment for a new employee. I like companies that offer this. It gets boring fixing easy things like this, so its more fun to figure out the complicated stuff.

Will self-service put IT people out of a job? Eventually when we have robot and artificial intelligence. However someone will need to fix them, and probably it will be an IT person like myself.

I don’t fear the future, I welcome it.

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