Help Desk Software

Some strategies for dealing with difficult people involved in an IT project.

06 de April de 2016 in Blog, Help Desk, How to, knowledge, Productivity

Believe me, if you manager of an IT project has not yet had the luck (or misfortune) to cross with someone hard to deal with on a project, do not worry, it’s just a matter of time.

This implies that you will need a lot of patience and strategy to cope with this kind of person in a friendly way (for good design!) Despite the possible obstacles.

But before, a very important notice: do not destroy bridges! Independent of genius difficult of their interlocutors, remember that all the people who collaborate in the project they want the project go well and reach your goal.

However, many times the war of egos can come to lose everything, if in a day you offer unconditional support, in the following may create a genuine turmoil because the progress of work is not being done exactly as they want, etc.

And doesn’t mean that they have changed their goals, they still want the success of the project, just for professional issues or character (or both together) move to the confrontation.

Don’t take this attitude as something personal and remember that business is just business, professional relationship apart. Whatever happens (of course we are not referring to the extreme, with blows, for example), do not burn bridges and dispose of these people just because they seem to be hindering the progress of work.

You must at first find ways to work with them to break the deadlock.

Now that we have this clear, we will focus on the tips (which can save your team).

4 Strategies to deal with difficult people

Identify and observe them carefully.

It must be done continuously, as stated before, if at first it is an active advocate in another moment can become a stone in the shoe.

But if you are attentive to the signs, his comments on the latest state of reviews, for example, you will not be surprised and have time to formulate possible strategies to minimize the influence of this turbulent personality before the team and the project.

Therefore it is very important to ensure that all channels of communication are always kept open to prevent possible negativity.

Listen carefully to what they tell you.

Try to be aware of where proceed negative comments and use of empathy to analyze this point of view, that’s right, put yourself in the person’s place. In this way you may be able to understand their motivations and goals and who knows even adhere to his or her logic (if it really comes to add to the project).

Make a conscious effort to understand the point of view and ask yourself: How much the opposite view affects the project? Is this perhaps another way to accomplish the project will bring no benefits? Among other issues … The idea is to try to find a meeting point.

Meet with the “rebels” one by one.

Try to gather or when possible to talk to the “rebels” individually.

In this way these people do not feel cornered against others involved in the project; it is important to avoid confrontation, avoid asking brusquely why they opposed the way the project was planned or is running.

Ask open ended questions about their opinions and what they think about the project, stage, etc, remember this is a professional relationship, isn’t personal.

Discover their concerns and motivations.

Discover the motives behind the opposition are a great asset. They are concerned that it will exceed the budget? They are concerned with more technical questions of order or personal? Anyway, many may be the reasons and if you achieves success in discovering the reasons guiding this approach therefore might create a strategy so that everyone is satisfied and continue despite difficulties.

If you can manage the people involved in a project effectively, listening to them and satisfying their needs over the course of a project, you can then benefit from the trust placed in you and your methods.

And that goes for everyone, not just for those who create conflicts…

Have you ever had to deal with difficult people in a project? How did you deal with the situation? Think about it!

Don’t do this: Some of the most common bad practices in Project management.

29 de March de 2016 in Blog, How to, knowledge, Productivity

No matter how much experience you have, when it comes to projects you will often make a mistake, that’s a fact.

In this chat we want to address some bad practices or mistakes that appear in dealing with IT projects. True, there are many others, we can’t cover all these possibilities in a single text but is a warning.

And although we refer to essentially the management of IT projects, nothing prevents also serve for other types of projects.

Incorrect estimate/project planning

A very common mistake depending on many factors not always a solution at hand. For example, a customer with no clear goals, no official specifications, technical inability to set goals too optimistic or risky (surreal delivery times, reduced staff, unfulfilled tasks, zero quality management etc.).

In the case of this item we know that the sky is always the limit.

Bad distribution of roles in the development team.

This error is usually present when assign roles for availability and not competence.

The risk of delegating an inappropriate person for the job increases as higher is the level of responsibility of the same. A person can be excellent in a function or task and bad in others, so stay tuned.

Some simple measure can perhaps reduce this problem, for example to assess the professional profile of your employees carefully, keep in mind that as a project becomes more critical, the greater should be the empowerment of the managers, engineers, analysts, programmers, etc.

Assume instead of prove.

Dealing on the projects you should have maximum certainty. It is a classic fact that many managers when don’t have the information or it is incomplete assume they know. This is more dangerous to decide in uncertainty.

In the case of ignoring the essential factors, inquire them and formalize them. Get specific, realistic and measurable objectives of the project, time to start and delivery, available resources (technologies, budget, and personnel), requirements specification, risk, among others to prevent surprises or not if they occur, are limited.

Plan does not include all those responsible.

At this stage you should include all employees responsible for the project. In the case of missing responsible for the accuracy of the planning will be affected and this may hinder the understanding of the schedule and setting of targets.

This is particularly delicate in the case of directors. So it must have complete description of the roles of each team member in this project, design of the program, its phases, activities and tasks, the resources required for each activity, a good communication plan and risk management and the visible support a the least one of the company managers.

Embrace many tasks at the same time.

Be multitasking is today an advantage, mainly in terms of qualification. However, assume many tasks/projects concurrently can make the lowest performance and turn a brake for the whole team.

But then what should do for that not happen?

Well, in case of proven damage to productivity, reduce projects / tasks open at a 25% -50% (WIP – Work in Progress) is an alternative, you can also (if there is no other way) pause or even shut down some projects / tasks to keep open several that are never completed (question of priorities), using agile methodologies that save time without losing quality finally use quantitative methods of planning and control to enable a better distribution of work.

Lack of communication.

Communication is essential in a project. To establish communication is elemental needs a transmitter, a receiver, a message and a protocol.

The absence of these causes confusion, apathy and disorganization and to avoid this some initiatives are very important, such as planning meetings and most important interactions (so there is no loss of time with endless meetings), establish the standards, protocols and technologies to communicate.

Also ensure that any team member involved in the project meet the planning and means available to it, not rely on the software to implement the project, personal contact is often necessary.

 

Not knowing how to say no.

A project manager may be able to have all the data and tools needed to develop a good plan, manage it, ensure follow-up and achieve a good product.

However a personal characteristic of yours can place to lose the whole team, which is not able to say no. If a manager says no doesn’t mean that it is negative, saying not means that if recognizes the context, conditions and requirements and what is requested cannot be delivered in a timely manner.

Involves a good knowledge of the project and the team, the capabilities and estimates and what you want, what quality level you want to achieve.

Inflexibility

Here we have the application of the previous item carried to the extreme, we refer to use the “no” in excess and not adapt to changes properly.

Many managers follow blindly the initial plan, underestimating communication, ignoring suggestions and criticism, forgetting to oversee the mechanical team and adjust your attitude and the plan to the inevitable changes that arise.

This type of manager will never be leader: little by little will feed the antipathy, fear and apathy of its staff members. Your projects can only be met if you have excess resources or a development team of extreme quality.

Too much macro or micro-management

Control freak, unplanned checks, integration solutions off schedule. These problems are usually quite common for managers without much experience or ignore the current tools of control and integration.

The micro-management is negative for the project and fatal for the whole team: not opens space for the development of the employees and nor for the initiative of these and generates widespread discontent.

These are just some of the mistakes and bad practices common in project management, of course there are many others that are out of this list and do so much damage to the project and the team.

What do you think about the issue?  What others practices were left out? Do you agree?

What are the key performance indicators that every call center manager need to know?

11 de December de 2015 in Help Desk, How to, ITIL, Productivity, Satisfaction, Software

Managing a call center requires skill and a good knowledge of the area metrics. But after all, which even are the key performance indicators (KPIs) that any manager must know, even?

In a quick list, we can say that these are six basic indicators (at the least).

And we’re not talking about complex metrics, but simple actions you can take to make sure you have a real-time view of the success of your team:

Know your customer satisfaction score: For each customer satisfaction score, there is always a key indicator of performance. Create a list of information per company, manager or process to obtain the most accurate picture of your customer satisfaction, noting the areas that are in need of improvement.

Think about your level of service: Next, you need to clearly define your ideal level of service. From this baseline, you can question any shift in customer satisfaction.

Note the problems of yesterday to spot trends: The key performance indicators here are dropout rates, average waiting times and adherence. By looking at your past issues you can see if there are trends in changes in the types of calls you are getting and how its agents are dealing with them.

Using these data can also allow you to make sure that the team is properly closing the incidents. If on the other hand changes occur in the types of the tickets, this data can help you focus on these areas and reprioritize.

Review the session support to better understand your customer’s needs: To analyze the patterns of records issued the day before, you will have to observe the changes in the types of incoming tickets and how well agents are operating these tickets.

To hear the first calls of the day you will have a few tips, say, fresh on customer needs. What are the most common problems and what is the approach of the agents?

Follow the team: Another tip is to track your team this will give you a moral sense of team and the qualitative state support.

Any comments and techniques that make your team the most successful members are the key performance indicators.

Know where your team has quality and where you can improve: Finally, your overall assessment should identify the level at which the team is successful or needs improvement.

In this case, the key performance indicator is a quality score of two parts, divided between the business impact and the impact on the customer.

Like all businesses operate in different ways, it is important that as service manager / help desk you set your KPI according to specific strengths and weaknesses, track your performance and set realistic benchmarks for the future.

To ensure that you understand what these metrics really mean and how they impact your center means that you are on track to achieve this goal.

Keys to get all the potential of teamwork.

08 de December de 2015 in Career, How to, Productivity, Satisfaction

The team concept originates from sports, however, the corporate world knew incorporate very well this concept in the mid-twentieth century, when different authors star to recognize the importance of teams in organizations, focusing on companies and particularly in projects.

So, in the current days we hear so much about Team Building, Team Work, and Team Leadership.

Teamwork is not just a sum of individual activities, but there is a collective energy that produces a different effect to the simple addition of tasks.

For those who lead teams and not only wishing to build teams, but mainly learn to obtain the full potential of the synergy between all its members, here are 10 keys that will be fundamental to achieve this purpose.

That isn’t just for Help Desk teams or IT projects, but for any other area where teamwork is vital…

  1. Formation of teams with a purpose and a task. For a team to be made there must be a purpose, a task. The common goal is the league. Sense of purpose is all!
  2. Scope of the purposes in a specified period. Teams have a specific time to do their work. And these time limits may be set by a higher level of organization, the team itself, by the driver or by a process of negotiation between the many stakeholders in the organization.
  3. Individual specialization and specialization of the team. While members have knowledge and skills in one or more specific subjects, they should also be prepared to exchange functions.
  4. The selection of team members. Organizations select their members focused on individual skills psychological conditions, etc.
  5. Evaluation by process. Evaluation by results. Some teams are measured only by results. Other also measure the shape and case in which the task was accomplished
  6. Team style. Each team has a style that characterizes and is formed by internal agreements, for resources, for personal style, knowledge and previous experience of the members and the team leader, for his stories, etc.
  7. Quality standards. Teams are required to meet quality standards. For example: an orchestra can’t tune.
  8. Reliability. It develops over time. In ephemeral teams confidence is often implicit in the professionalism of its members.
  9. The oath of the team. The agreements score the team’s limits, generate cohesion.
  10. Ethics, motivation and training. The satisfaction of certain ethical principles – of which the continuous training and competition are not excluded- is a motivator for team members.

And to you which factors unite and improve the performance of a team? Share with us!

Be more productive: Myths about productivity to be overturned.

08 de October de 2015 in Blog, How to, Productivity

For the professionals of all sectors is important to know what habits will give you what you need to have a day more productive, this state is almost magic that leads us to complete the task in time and without distractions.

Let’s look at some of the most recurrent myths about productivity that can be responsible for the opposite effect.

Separate complex projects into smaller tasks don’t work out.

Program each pending from beginning to end can cause wear, and productive people are more comfortable with the certainty in the short term than with the long-term uncertainty when it comes to managing tasks.

Try to separate the big projects in two or three jobs at once.

Is a matter to get used to, but more realistic approach to complex projects will provide a broader range of ideas, the ability to overcome obstacles and have better point of view from which to make good decisions.

The fact is you don’t know which challenges or opportunities will come across at some point and needs to be flexible enough to handle them.

Do not leave for tomorrow what you can do today.

Use a time line for organize your work, doesn’t matter how many you have on your list.

Productive people are always reviewing what they have to do in the next few weeks, because they know it is a marathon that takes time.

Trying to do everything in the same day can be frustrating and you may be disappointed with the result rushed, so it’s important to be realistic about what you can achieve.

Look for your list and try to put the same number of pending issues every day. The key words on this case are: essentiality and priority.

Reprogram again and again until it’s over.

Do you think that reschedule pendency will not prejudice you?

Think again, there is a big emotional cost that comes with reprogramming.

Productive people know how to eliminate things that are not so important to remain focused and not have the worry of having to do something.

Do commit yourself only what you know you can finish and what you can spend your time during the day. It’s not just about finishing things, but about finishing them well.

After all, the productivity is a personal quest.

What works for some may not work as well for others as not all have the same success settings.

About it, pay attention to your habits and ask yourself what works for you.

Perhaps the most important rule is that professionals more productive create their own “truths” on the road.

What is the importance of having a knowledge base in IT

18 de February de 2014 in Blog, How to, ITIL, Productivity, Satisfaction

PrintKnowledge base is where you store all relevant information about your work done in your company, so you can access it later. But how to create an effective knowledge base in your company?

 

First, to build your knowledge base you need to keep in mind your goal, because the term is too wide and everything eventually may become a knowledge base. For example, if the average time for solving problems in your Help Desk is high, you need a base to streamline this process. That needs to be started for each incident. In this case, a set of records of incidents can be the foundation of knowledge you need , with known errors and technical workarounds that can be found easily. On the other hand, a database where are stored all manuals and operating procedures of a particular technical support is also a knowledge base.

 

But the question is: how to make this efficient knowledge base ? How to relate all this information to quickly find the answers I seek? To have a base of knowledge organized and effective, you need planning and control. One way to optimize your base is the indexing of the content that needs to be registered on the basis of criteria to facilitate your search, such as the due date for questions and model registration ( title , problem , cause and solution ). Hold people responsible for base and to measure their use to achieve constantly make improvements.

 

Owning a knowledge base will help you establish a pattern of response to the calls , increase the solution at the first level, the possibility of direct technical support Level 2 for more complex jobs that generate more value for the business , plus shorten troubleshooting and enable service 24 × 7.

 

When to merge a ticket?

18 de February de 2013 in Blog, How to

The aim of tickets is to avoid duplicate entries. When an end-user submits a claim twice for the same incident, two tickets can be merged.

Here’s a scenario: John sends an e-mail to technical support for his laptop problem. He calls the help desk to confirm the record of the incident and the help desk creates another ticket for the same problem. The duplicate tickets fall under these conditions,

Same End-user

Same Incident

Duplicate entry

When the above situation occurs, the tickets can be joined to the rest of the others. The conversation is continued through the first ticket.

What not to merge?

In the same scenario, if multiple requesters report the same problem, do not merge them. If too many tickets merged, then only one requester will receive emails because the records are linked to only one parent request. These multiple incidents can be analyzed and modified to Problem Management, if necessary.

3 Tips for successful targeted Help Desk solutions

13 de February de 2013 in Blog, How to

1. Map your processes

Before you go shopping, organizations must develop procedures for incident management, change request, problem and create a flowchart. “That way you know what to do, who does what and how the process flows,” says Steve Villalpando, manager of IT governance from Virginia Farm Bureau Federation. “Once you’ve defined one, the mapped process is repeated by all, and you can choose a tool that supports this.”

2. Do not go too fast

Before proceeding with the implementation, take the time to write your expectations of a help desk tool and what you want to accomplish. “There are a lot of little things that need to be configured, and if you do something the wrong way at the beginning may affect you in the future,” said Bob Kay, operations manager for Vistex.

3. Adopt a balanced approach

Organizations need to invest heavily in their people processes and technology. “If I’m I have beginners at my helpdesk, no matter what I bring in tools, they are still raw,” says Jeffrey M. Brooks, research director at Gartner. “Many organizations put a hyper-focus on software as an integral component of the help desk, and it really is not. Technology is just a tool, but not a cure-all.”

Tips for an Help Desk professional

08 de February de 2013 in Blog, How to

1. Everyone is a customer

Everyone who calls you for technical help is your customer.

2. Be courteous

You are representing your entire company (and especially the IT training department), when you talk to your customers. Politeness

Polite: always. Treat each call with politeness, even if they do not return the courtesy.
3. Be clear and precise

Avoid technical terms. Your client does not have as much technical experience as you. Do not assume that your partner knows what you ask him to do, then remember to clearly describe each step he will have to follow.

 

4. Use analogies

Whenever possible, using every day analogies. It will help your client feel confident and put the issue in a technical perspective.

 

5. Be nice

Your client is probably frustrated. He’s probably in a hurry and thinking about how much he is losing in productivity by not knowing how to use his computer better. Listen openly, without judgment, to the customer’s problem, even if you’ve heard the description a hundred times before, this is the first time for your customer.

 

6. Be professional

Recognizing the frustration of your client, but a balance, don’t get emotionally involved. If your client remains in wrong path and describes their feelings, ask kindly, for more specific questions as possible to help bring the conversation back and fix it.

 

7. Keep notes

Create a database of knowledge. Accompany each incident, symptoms, causes and solutions.

You will begin to see patterns in how the software behaves, and you’ll soon be able to apply the intuitive patterns to solve new problems.

 

8. Train your colleagues – Share ideas.

Train your coworkers. When you learn a new faster solution to a problem, tell the other experts on the subject. If you share, they will share. Then you’ll all be better at it.

Good Practices for Help Desk Team Management

04 de February de 2013 in Blog, How to

Managing a help desk is an important function in many different types of organizations. In order to participate in an effective help desk management, managers should lead by example when it comes to good communication, generating respect, and making sure that all the help desk staff are properly trained and up-to -date in terms of information and procedures.

One of the first things to keep in mind with the help desk management is the need to promote effective communication at all levels. This means that managers and staff must be able to communicate clearly, which helps minimize the potential for misunderstandings that can compromise and have a negative impact.

Along with solid internal communications, help the team create skills that make it easier to communicate with customers. This means active personnel training, not only in terms of the type of information, but also how to transmit this information using terms that customers can understand. The end result is a client who feels heard, an element that can go a long way to defuse a negative situation and maintain positive relationship with the client.

One should also take time to do performance reviews with staff. This is a time for the manager and staff to identify strengths and areas that need improvement, which in turn helps make the most effective help desk. The focus of the assessments is not just about the skill set of the team, but also an opportunity for them to make suggestions on how to improve help desk functions. Where the team should always be free to suggest new ideas for managers, incorporating this opportunity at the end of the evaluation can often yield some effective ideas and also strengthen the team.

Supporting the staff is also an important aspect of managing help desk. Everyone should feel confident that the manager will be there to assist in case something happens and it is beyond the scope. This leaves the team with confidence in the ability of the manager to support them.

Recognition of the value of all help desk staff, making sure everyone is up-to-date on policies and procedures, and be prepared to help employees with difficult situations, the process of managing help desk will proceed smoothly, benefiting all involved.

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