Sunday, March 28, 2010


It is important when looking to bring someone in who will have a management role that you get as solid a picture of what that person brings to the table as you can.

Here is a snapshot of what I believe and what I do when given the opportunity to implement my ideas in an IT service desk as a manager. Want more? Contact me at

Collaboration: in coming to know the customer, learn their pain points and incorporate the easing of that pain into the strategic vision. It is just as important to find collaborative partners in the customer base as it is to find them inside IT.

Participation: particularly within IT, know what's coming down the pike by being at the table and actively asking the necessary questions. No one else will have the service desk perspective at the front of their minds.

All facts are friendly: immediately provide as much detail as desired when there is an unforeseen issue or unhappy customer who may soon appear on the CIO's radar. Bad news, in particular, requires a bright light to be shone on it as quickly as possible. No bad-news surprises!

Motivation: for the support team, it is important to know what gets them up in the morning and provide more opportunity for exactly that activity. This is an individual determination for each team member, not a globally applied solution. Some need to be challenged to stretch while others may need simple recognition of a job well done by working the phones all day (if that's what they love, then let them do it). Get between the team and demotivators by defusing situations with unhappy people and doing it personally.

Team building: learn the current dynamics and ease them from the go-it-alone habit to a new dynamic of "first, ask my cohort on the team" when there is a problem one has not seen. There is huge benefit in leveraging the group's knowledge and sharing it as part of the culture.

Structural integrity: find the muddy areas in what we do today and build the processes to make it clear how we proceed in these areas--predefined procedures provide clarity and a sense of direction, lower stress for the tech, and get that person focused on service delivery instead of "what do I do with this one?" questions. Crystal clarity in how we progress from new incident discovery to problem definition and solution.

Consistency of delivery: everyday work should be excellent across the board, regardless of who takes responsibility for a single incident. Meeting the need is not enough. Wowing the customer will win us allies and accolades. This is a visible evidence point that the other tactics, values and techniques mentioned here are working. It won't happen instantaneously, but the trend should be visible pretty quickly.

Perspective: don't get bogged down in the tactical struggle--maintain a strategic focus/direction and communicate it. Often, stepping back from the situation is the best way to determine how to deal with it effectively.

Long-term sustainability: if we do this right, the team will be working together and happy to be doing their jobs, the customers will be spending less time either trying to get help or wondering if it is even worth asking because issues will be addressed accurately and efficiently, and the win-win will be apparent to anyone examining the data (anecdotal and empirical).

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Brief Bio (resume is included within)

In my career in IT, I have filled many roles. From my days as a programmer, then a programmer/analyst and a team lead, I learned the methodologies of software development.

More recently, my time as a technical services manager has allowed me the chance to learn how to manage people, tasks, and resources in a way which came as close as possible to making everyone happy.

The secret to keeping a technical support team motivated and engaged is not really a secret: all it takes is passion and a willingness to listen. By hearing what the folks on my team wanted to do as they moved ahead in their own careers, I was able to offer them assignments which were both interesting and challenging.

By empowering the team to do more of the things they liked to do--and knowing everyone was going to share those tasks which no one was enthused to be doing--I was able to offer the company the best level of service possible. Competent people doing their best. That's all you can ask for from a support team.

Please have a look at my resume, which is linked above. If you would like to know more, contact info is included as part of that document.