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Knowledge and encouragement

By jbusch ·
The comment from Brian (?) about his contacts is along the right track. I agree with his logic and often mentor young IT staff to focus on areas they like but build up a cadre of experts who can cover your unknown challenges. Our staff respond to a wide range of everyday software programs and it would be great to have one place to post problems and find solutions.

I love the Microsoft MVPs who give so much of their time. And I respect all those IT gurus who host websites with tidbits and suggestions for things like NVIVO, SAS, SPSS, and the like. And thanks to Microsoft for their varied and sundried user support forums. And thanks for Google. All these are valuable resources.

Its easy to search these sites to find answers. However, it is not easy to post problems. Post to the wrong forum and you'll never get a good answer, may even get barraged my folks who are incensed at your faux pas. This can be demoralizing to new folks who are just learning.

What IT needs is a site that organizes all the information, sort of like the Oxford English Dictionary. A place where history of knowledge can allow you to get a quick simple answer, or one that provides all the history. A place where knokwledge is imparted with caveats and suggestions. A forum where folks are encouraged to provide unique solutions, and off the wall ideas that work. I believe it was Mark Twain who said "it is a sorry mind that knows only one way to spell a word."

I have spent many years supporting all kinds of users and at varying levels of skills. The one thing I have learned is that you, the IT person, can make their lives better but you have to listen. I have users who do the craziest things, but I see why they do it and then I try to encourage "best practice" medicine, but I learned a long time ago that simple tweaking leads to better results. If their way works and they are happy let them go. Too much control, like limiting software installations, leads to an "us versus them" environment.

Encouragement and knowledge are the two things IT needs to flourish. Cull the fast spectrum of knowledge bases and provide feedback that helps and encourages active participation from all participants. That is the environment that will lead to the best solutions.

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