People who work the help desk can often benefit from a visit to other departments, to build relationships with other teams, to gain an understanding of how their support efforts impact other teams, and to improve personal skills. How would it be if the reverse were to be tried?
Part of the skill training for a good help desk is gaining a good working knowledge of other disciplines within the IT department, and I have always believed that the best way to achieve this is to allow help desk analysts to experience other departments. I also believe that people from other departments benefit from seeing how frontline support works.
Many people will be horrified at the suggestion that they spend some time on the help desk, but if you haven't done it there is a lot you can learn, especially about the art of dealing with people and understanding the systems from their point of view, rather than the one shown by the noncustomer facing teams.
There is an old saying that goes something like "Never judge a person until you have walked a mile in their shoes." In this instance you must work alongside other departments, and I don't just mean other parts of the IT department but all other parts of the organization you work for, so that you can gain a real understanding of what those departments are using your system for. You will be able to show better working methods to those departments, and you will also be able to improve the way you provide support.
Think how your software developers could enhance their offering if they spent more time with the end users?
How would it be if the network administrator got to see the kind of query that the help desk deals with on a daily, if not hourly, basis?
Similarly, if the help desk learned a bit about other parts of the department, wouldn't it be a good thing, helping us with the way that we handle calls, allowing us to know a little more about their needs, and enabling us to ask more intelligent questions when assembling information to pass on to the other teams.
The help desk is all about handling problems.
What do you think? Would you be happy to sit in on the help desk or leave the desk and meet up with other teams? Please let me know what you think.