Tuesday, June 14, 2011

They are not the enemy

I've been on both sides of the fence. I started in IT then I crossed over to the dark side in 2006. What's interesting is seeing that "they" never know what they're talking about or what is really necessary.

They being the other ones that are not on your side.

Now that I'm in a support role I get to be the intermediary, not quite IT but not really a real "user". Our users see us as the obstacle to getting what they need and many times we get frustrated on our end trying to understand why they don't understand that we're only trying to help.  IT sees us as the ones that keep adding to a Christmas list of wants without taking into consideration that this is how the application works.

The best way to get around it is to never take it personal. I put myself in their place. There's a level of frustration involved mainly due to having a situation (the software application) that they can't control, for the users, and being overworked with few resources, for IT.

When I was in IT our frustration stemmed from the users not understanding the limitations of the software and wanting it all yesterday. Another part of it stemmed with the the ever changing user requirements.

But, in the land of end-user support it mainly comes from lack of understanding on both parts. Many times the user doesn't know what they want - at least what they want the software to do - and the support person has issues understanding why they need what they're asking for. Why on earth would they want to do that??? This is even more pronounced within IT. Without understanding the business processes, you can have as many bells and whistles in an application, but it doesn't mean anything for users if it doesn't get them what they need.

How then do we deal with this ongoing battle?

I don't know, you tell me?  We're still trying to sort it out. In the meantime, the most important thing is to not take it personal and try and put yourself in the place of the other person, be it IT or end user.

And make sure you have your Nerf gun fully loaded.

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