Microsoft

Build out your Windows 8 deployment team

Adding specialists to your Windows 8 deployment team can help save your team from being bogged down in user questions. Will Kelly shares some insight about the value of these specialists.

Deploying Windows 8 is going to bring change to many end users. So much, change that it is important to keep your deployment team on time and on target. Reaching your Windows 8 deployment team goals may mean having to augment your deployment team with other specialists to ensure a successful Windows 8 deployment and a positive end user experience.

It's important to consider these other specialists during the upfront planning of your Windows 8 deployment to position you budget and staffing wise to secure the extra help. These specialists when can save the deployment team from not being bogged down in user's Windows 8 questions.

Here are some other specialists to consider when augmenting your Windows 8 deployment team.

The trainer

Microsoft Windows and Office releases are the seasonal harvests of the IT training industry so when you are gearing up to deploy Windows 8, so is the training industry. Adding a trainer to a deployment team doesn't necessarily mean setting up classroom training all the time but more just in time training and support. A trainer on a deployment team can provide desk side support to end users with Windows 8 questions freeing up your technicians to work on the software, hardware and operating system facets of the deployment.

If you don't have an in-house trainer, there are a number of IT contracting and training firms that have Windows trainers in their databases.

Depending on the role that you choose for a trainer on the team, here are some skills you should consider in your training support:

  • Stand up training experience with Microsoft technologies especially Windows
  • Familiarity with your industry.
  • Experience with training in a variety of mediums such as classroom, small group and one on one training.

The technical writer

A technical writer is another person to consider for augmenting your Windows 8 deployment team. While they can be considered a luxury in some parts, their writing and documentation skills can do much to support a Windows 8 deployment by taking documentation responsibilities off the deployment team. With a technical writer worrying about documenting issues, you and your deployment team can focus on other parts of the deployment.

Having a technical writer on the deployment team enables your team to perform the following:

  • Update, publish, and distribute any internal job aids that require changes after the move to Windows 8.
  • Formally, document any issues the deployment team encounters and their workarounds and publish the document internally
  • Capture and document Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that may arise during the course of the deployment.

There is also the behind scenes documentation the technical writer can handle especially with any changes to desktop security or accessing critical internal applications that need to be documented by the IT and security staffs for daily operations after the deployment.

If you don't have technical writers on staff, most markets have a range of IT contracting and technical writing firms not to mention independent technical writers for hire.

Additional help desk support

If you are managing a Windows 8 deployment inside a large organization, you could also consider the help desk as another extension of your deployment team. It might be necessary to bring in additional help desk support knowledgeable in Windows 8 to handle overflow calls during the deployment depending on the size of your help desk.

Some large deployments take a "war room" approach where IT, help desk, and deployment team representatives sequester themselves in a conference room with phones and laptops and remote access to deal with any difficult technical issues that may occur during the course of the deployment. Plug your deployment into the war room if possible; to ensure your team is running with the latest information.

Another key to rolling additional help desk support into a Windows 8 deployment is to work out an escalation path from the technicians and other support staff who are on the floor working directly with customer PCs to the additional helpdesk support people.

The sign language interpreter

If you are deploying Windows 8 inside an organization with a hearing impaired employee population chances are you aren't going to be involved in the hiring of a sign language interpreter for the deployment. Many large corporations and United States federal government agencies have arranged to have access to sign language interpreters in-house to support their workers.

The key to working with a  sign language interpreter is to meet with the interpreter before anybody on the deployment team meets with a hearing impaired internal customer. Since the working style of some interpreters does vary, they can advise on what technicians, trainers, or other support people can do to work best with them to serve the internal customer. I've worked with a sign language interpreter while supporting a deployment, and after an initial meeting where he offered some tips on working with him, and it made working with hearing-impaired users a positive experience.

Well rounded teams and the successful Windows 8 deployment

It's easy to fall into the trap that a Windows 8 or other Microsoft technology deployment is all about the technicians and their expertise. However, the specialists I outline as potential members of an extended Windows 8 deployment team in this post can do just as much as an experienced technician to ensure customer satisfaction.

About Will Kelly

Will Kelly is a freelance technical writer and analyst currently focusing on enterprise mobility, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), and the consumerization of IT. He has also written about cloud computing, Big Data, virtualization, project management ap...

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