11 January 2008

Why doesn’t the IT Person Believe me?

Have you ever noticed when you are trying to explain a computer problem to an IT person they tend to look at you as if they don’t quite believe what you are saying. IT seem to speak a different language than we do. They are looking at it from a hardware point of view and we are looking at it from a software user point of view and sometimes we just don’t understand each other.

Please tell me the answer is not always re-install

I am almost afraid sometimes to call for help because I don’t know if I can handle another re-install and a change to my normal.dot settings. Sometimes there might not be a choice but to re-install, but I have had success finding the answer in other ways. Take the time to discuss the problem with the IT person and see if they can come up with other solutions to fix the problem, and if they do have to re-install, make sure they save your normal.dot settings before doing so.

Can we Communicate Better with the IT Department?

I think we have to recognize that the IT Department are the experts in what they do and I have no doubt they know the hardware and operating systems inside and out. I think where the communication fails is when they don’t realize that we as the users know the software programs we use and what we want them to do. I have found that some of the best IT people are those who were former assistants and users of these programs. They understand what we are trying to accomplish, not just why the computer isn’t working.

I was speaking to my brother about this and he had a good analogy. My brother is a great guitar player and has been playing since he was six years old. He told me he met a man who was an expert guitar craftsman. He knew everything there was to know about the guitar. He knew what wood to use, how to place the strings, everything to get the best sound. The only thing he didn’t know was how to play it. In order to know if his craftsmanship was successful he needed someone to play it and when he heard it being played by someone who knew what they were doing they both could appreciate that guitar better.

I think the same applies with the IT people and the end users. IT are the computer experts, but we are the users and we both know what we are doing. We need to respect each other’s expertise.

We are on the same team

The IT Department are a service department and are there to keep the systems running smoothly and to troubleshoot and get our computers up and running when they crash.

An IT person once reminded me, and I know it’s true, "We are so used to getting things done in seconds, that we get frustrated when the system slows down to minutes". I of all people, who come from the time of the manual typewriter, should understand that when the computer slows down it is still faster than it used to be. Maybe some perspective would help.

Communication on both sides will help us have a better working relationship with this very important and needed service area.

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