Monday, March 26, 2012

Outdated Computer Paradigms

I'm often surprised when I hear about support contracts being for X amount of hours per week. I don't know about anyone else but I hate counting hours. I just want to get the job done. And it doesn't work in the customer's interest anyway.

In the good old days programmers charged out at lines of code. Lines of code doesn't actually tell you much. By this mentality I would get paid more for:

mkdir test-1
mkdir test-2
mkdir test-3
mkdir test-4
mkdir test-5


rather than:


for counter in $( seq 1 5 ) ; do
  mkdir test-${counter}
done

This was recognised and instead, charging is done differently - deliverables. In order to charge, you must deliver certain functionality.

But it seems we're willing to keep this same sort of mentality for desktop support. If you're asking for X amount of hours, then those delivering the support aren't really interested in deliverables. What if, instead, that person spent a lot of time to make sure things were actually working, and then put in the infrastructure to make everyone's life easier, and was therefore able to reduce the amount of time they had to spend onsite. Rather than technicians being onsite trying to look busy, you'd have them actually doing something.

I know computer people seem to be horribly interested in offsite support i.e. remoting into a system to fix it, but support is more about people than it is about computers. So remote access for urgent, just get it done quickly stuff. An hour or so a week to show your face and deal with any face to face or has to be done onsite sort of issues and everyone's happy.

Allow for going to a site multiple times in a week - even if it's 10 minutes here and there just to make sure everything's working okay rather than users having to wait a week for support and you've suddenly got a hell of a win. The technician has more time to deliver great support to more people. Those needing the support get it more often. No one's having to do stupid amounts of paperwork. It's a win no matter how you look at it.

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