Becky Roberts' "What would you do?" (WWYD) column serves as a forum for TechRepublic members to share their knowledge and experience in dealing with the softer side of computer support. Every WWYD column presents a user/computer support situation requiring more than a purely technical solution. Each situation is an accurate description of an actual event, with the names and other identifying factors changed to protect the innocent—and sometimes not so innocent.
With each new scenario, TechRepublic members are encouraged to discuss how they think the scenario should best be resolved. One week after the article posts we pull together the most interesting solutions and most common themes, and present those and the actual outcome of the situation in a follow-up article.
So in case you’ve missed any of the previous WWYD columns, we compiled a list from the first six months. For those who have read previous WWYD columns, but missed the follow-up article and want to learn the outcome of a particular situation, we’ve updated each article with a link to the outcome.
The first six months of Support Republic WWYD columns
Help a frustrated tech remain neutral in end-user feud
While investigating a case of missing e-mail, an unsuspecting support tech is thrust into the middle of an intradepartmental rivalry. Get the details and then let us know how you would handle this tricky situation.
Employee borrows company equipment for personal use: How should IT respond?
How would you handle a user who borrows company equipment without permission? Find out exactly what this sticky-fingered user borrowed and why. Then offer your opinions on dealing with the situation.
How would you handle an IT saboteur?
An IT employee who had planned to move out of state but didn't tries to sabotage her replacement in an attempt to regain her former position. If you were the replacement, what would you do?
E-mail investigation: Abuse of power or necessary precaution?
Accused of being discourteous, a tech reads the accuser's e-mail and discovers an error in communication that exonerates him. Should the tech use his findings and reveal his actions? What would you do?
Would you support management-endorsed piracy?
When a support tech discovers pirated software on company machines, she reports it to her boss, believing that it is the result of a simple oversight. Unfortunately, she is told to stop worrying and forget about it. What should she do? What would you do?
How would you handle a coworker who shirks her duties?
One of your coworkers isn't pulling her weight. Although you're seriously overworked, you're not sure that reporting the problem would achieve anything more than irritating her. What would you do?
Perfume allergy makes tech support painful
You're the only support person in a small office and one of your most demanding users wears a perfume to which you are allergic. What would you do? Read this week's scenario and help the tech resolve this irritating problem.
Would you confront a dishonest coworker?
A dishonest tech lies to his manager to cover up his own negligence. If you were this tech's coworker, what would you do?
Tech suspects manager tampered with user-satisfaction survey
You suspect that your boss has altered your help desk's annual user-satisfaction survey in his favor. Will you attempt to confirm your suspicions, or just let it go because he's your boss?
Should a tech support pornographic e-mail?
You're asked to help a user open some images on a PC, only to discover that their content is pornographic. Your company has no policy against such behavior, and the CEO encourages employees to use company PCs for personal use. What do you do?
Should a tech sabotage a project to preserve the IT department's reputation?
A support tech is asked to damage the reputation of another employee to preserve the status of the IT department. If you were the support tech, what would you do?
Help frustrated tech escape a backup dilemma
What would you do if you were accountable for all company backups, but the person responsible for changing the tapes wasn't doing his job? As a tech you have no authority over this person, and neither HR nor the IT manager wants to get involved.
Help a member escape a corporate vs. regional office power struggle
When a tech is placed in the middle of a corporate vs. regional power struggle, what should he do? If he sides with corporate, the regional office may fire him. If he sides with his office, he loses a major promotion. What would you do?
How should a tech handle a potential IT outsourcing deal?
A tech discovers that the CIO may hire an IT outsourcing company to augment the internal help desk. Should he be concerned? And how should he position himself if the deal happens?
Bill Detwiler has nothing to disclose. He doesn't hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop support specialist in the social research and energy industries. He has bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Louisville, where he has also lectured on computer crime and crime prevention.