Saturday, 19 October 2013

We are responsible for the quality of our systems


Many people have problems with the computer systems they use, but they do nothing about them. They feel that someone else is responsible for dealing with their problems.

However I believe that we are each responsible for the quality of the systems we use.

Who else might be responsible?

IT staff are often far away, and very busy, except to deal with emergencies. 

Telephone support staff often cannot see your priorities: the good ones handle your immediate problems, but they are usually too busy to look at the bigger picture.

Line managers are often reluctant to get involved.

So, if your systems are not good, you have to do something about it. If you are not ok with your system, how can you be expected to do your job, or expect your own staff to perform? 


One key aspect about being responsible for your system is understanding it. How much training have you had? Is it adequate? How much time did you spend after your training making sure you understood the system?

Most users I meet are not fully aware of all the benefits offered by their systems. Often there is a fear issue. I regularly take users through aspects of their systems so that they understand what is actually possible with it. 

But it is obviously in their long-term interests to keep abreast of what can be done with their software. Why have they not looked? (a) Because they are busy, and (b) Because they were scared they might break something! 


If I had a dollar for every person who has told me they know nothing about systems I would be very rich! Yet these people can often fascinate me with their expertise in other areas of their personal or business life.

Many people now accept that it is possible to understand how cars operate. Why not computers? For things to change, you have to take responsibility.


Start by getting a notebook (yes, paper) and keeping track of issues that affect you. 

Is your machine fast at one time and slow at another? Keep a note. You are the person who sees the differences, and you can help in problem diagnosis.

If someone installs something on your PC, write down what they did, and when it happened. Do the same for downloads and upgrades where you click to accept the installation. Know what you’ve done! Then if things don’t go well over the next few days you can (hopefully) tie it back to a cause.

If you do get new software, make sure you get appropriate training. If you don’t, then speak up. Tell your manager. Or tell his manager. How can you do your job properly without adequate training? 


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