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Managing techs

By ehalverson ·
As a new supervisor of supporting desktop and laptop PC's for a large company, What are common problems do you run into managing these technicians? I'm finding documentation is hard to get from them. Any pointers?

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Managing techs

by Shanghai Sam In reply to Managing techs

This is a common problem for sure. There are many reasons why people don't document. In your case I'm sure you have heard "we don't have time" probably the most.

One of the best ways to get people to document is to directly tie the documentation process to the performance planning of the employees. You must also, prime the pump by creating expectations of what good documentation is by developing templates and producing examples of "good" and "not so good" documentation. You can also ask yourstaff what companies produce good documentation in order to give you a idea of the style that they will embrace.

Once the documentation expectations are set here is a good method for ensuring that it is what the author intended and that it will be used:
1. Review by yourself or another manager, etc.
2. In procedure related doc. Have someone other that the author attempt to use the doc as intended noting any discrepancies.
3. Find a way to implement the documentation on a daily or periodic basis so that it does not get filed and never used.

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Might not know how, may not have time

by kedge In reply to Managing techs

Having trouble getting documentation? Depends what you want. I?ve found, for the most part, user-support people are in a constant fire fighting mode with little time for reports or pro-active thinking. If this is the situation you need to establish some acceptable response times for your people (all users want everything done right now but that?s not always realistic) and carve out time for them to do documentation and some planning.

Also, some people might not know what you want in documentation, it may be as simple as showing them a few documents that you like the look of (for example, a network diagram or a decision tree) and showing them how to make one. Work with your people to develop the kinds of reports you want and make sure they clearly understand why you want it- nobody likes doing reports that seem to disappear forever and don?t seem to have an impact.

Really, it depends on what your looking for.

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Might not like writing

by generalist In reply to Might not know how, may n ...

In some instances the techs might not like writing for an assortment of reasons.

One major reason for not liking to write is the inability of a person to put words together to make simple sentences and paragraphs. Writing at a certain level of expertise is a skill that not all people have.

Another reason for not liking to write is the criticism you get from others. A tech may use the spelling and grammar checkers for their documentation, but that doesn't prevent all spelling and grammarerrors. As a result, the tech gets slammed. (The converse, technical criticism of the English critics, rarely happens.)

A third reason for not liking to write is the time it may take. A tech with the ability to write well may not have the timeto spend writing documentation to their personal standards. And a tech that doesn't write well may not want to spend the extra time needed to write documentation to the company standards.

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The Need for Tech Editors/Senior Writers

by Saint714 In reply to Might not like writing

Excellent point about techs being resistant to documenting because of "editor backlash." But (keep in mind that I come from a tech writing-to-management background) I've found nigh-unlimited success in proving to the techs early on that you only want them to convey and document the expertise and information, and that I (or my designate) will "pretty up" the end docs.
I go into every project with a tried-and-true trio of documentation templates, each geared to a broad-based scope size. These templates have pre-coded paragraph and entry tags that take care of the formatting and design aspects on the fly.
Nobody in their right mind would ship out documentation (particularly to end-users) that hadn't been edited, revised and re-edited several times before finalization. So, among my staff, I always include, plan and budget for a Tech Editor/Senior Writer ... even if that person is me (which is usually the case).

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Managing Techs

by wlj In reply to Managing techs

The most important thing I have found is establishing expectations and accountability. Presuming that you've hired the right persons, this is an invaluable tool which will make your job easier. When you want/need to have a discussion with an employee on performance whither positive or negitative it helps to come from a common ground.I hope it helps you as much as it has me.

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Accountability and documentation

by mincks In reply to Managing Techs

I agree that establishing expectations is key. If an employee isn't performing the tasks necessary for their position, I've found the most likely reason is that I have not clarified my expectaions to that person.

As far as documentation goes, thetechs in my department demanded a universal method of documentation. Everyone agreed their jobs were easier handling a support call when they could research easily previous issues or troubleshooting involving other techs, but the key was that it waseasy to enter and easy to reference. Otherwise, no one appreciated the paperwork.

We developed a MS Access database with a web form for entering information per call, and an ASP web page to look up previous calls by customer ID. Now everyone grumbles about having to fill out new information, but everyone loves the ability to look up customer history.

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Welcome

by ggwbm In reply to Managing techs

I will try to be breif. There is no blue print for management. The challenge is to (1) Treat people how you would like to be treated.
(2) Never ever place your staff "beneath" you.

(3) There is little doubt that there will be many personnel issues. Since you are new, I would ask manager above (whom you respect and admire)you for guidance. He or she can be a mentor to you.

(4) Never comprimise your integrety
(5) Never ask of your staff what you would not be prepared to do yourself.
(6)Learn to balance the Science of Technology and the art of Customer Support.
(7) Think before speaking. Remember. Your staff is looking to you as a leader. You set the example.

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Welcome to the fire!

by snasdeo In reply to Managing techs

First off, congratulations and welcome to the wonderful world of management! The best advice I can give you is to treat people like they mean something to you and your company. If you have issues with an individual, take it up in private, not in front of anyone else. On the issue of getting them to provide documentation, there are a few things you can do. First, make it a part of their review, in other words make them accountable for the work. If they don't do it, make it known that it will reflect on their review. Second, get them to own it. Ask them to come up with ways to get the results you need. They will jump at the thought that they get to put something together instead of being told what to do. Good luck. If you need anything, email me.

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