Archive for March 9, 2011

Do not feed the officers

March 9, 2011

Can we trust staff to problem solve?

There are two main problems when you are good at your job:

  • No-one appreciates how hard it is as you make it look easy
  • People expect you to go the extra league, not just the extra mile

I’ve come across this a little this week thanks to my frustrating inability to tell people that it’s not my job, and that they should work it out themselves.

As my team is involved with public engagement we have all manner of gadgets and toys built up over the years to encourage people to get involved.  From facilitation equipment through to online widgets, we’ve got access to plenty that other teams want.

Recently a colleague asked if they could borrow some of our IT equipment for an event they were putting on.  They had used it in the past without problems, so I said it would be fine and arranged for them to pick it up.  I even showed them how to use it again as a bit of a refresher, to be sure that they would be fine on the day.

Over the course of the next three days I must have spent at least 40% of my time with them for one reason or another.  Firstly they couldn’t work out how to do something simple, so I showed them and helped get it prepped.  Then they forgot how to run it, so I ran through two practice sessions with them.  They then couldn’t work out how to link it to a projector – that’s linking a laptop to a projector, nothing more fancy than that – so I showed them.

They then broke the software.  Perhaps that’s not entirely fair to say; the software stopped working whilst they were in custody of it.  Despite being no more than a regular user I then felt duty bound to try to get it working for them, and proceeded to investigate everything in my power to do.  When these admittedly limited options were exhausted I proceeded to get our glorious ICT helpdesk involved (after answering the requisite twenty questions of course) and spent about three hours on the phone to them.

None of it worked. (more…)