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Guidelines for a Successful Computer Service Organization

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					Guidelines for a Successful Computer Service Organization Duane Twardokus* With the contribution of Alan Karasin, Scott Kronenbitter, and Susan Stickel Department of Information Technology City of Ithaca 1/28/03

I. A successful service organization has the following characteristics: A. Identifies and empathizes with the concerns of the client B. Develops and implements solutions that are supportable and sustainable C. Hires personnel that have the right attitude and the right skills D. Promotes the well-being of its personnel E. Has a clearly defined mission statement sustained by well-defined principles F. Has leadership that is competent, progressive, supportive and visionary II. Develop a culture of service A. Ultimate goal is to support and enhance the vision and mission of the City B. Have a mission statement and motto 1. formed by consensus of team 2. present to the public C. Establish a set of guiding principles 1. some necessary principles a) trustworthiness b) honesty c) fairness d) openness (1) praise (2) discussion of concerns (3) group awareness of budgetary issues e) civility f) proactivity g) win-win attitude h) cooperation i) courtesy j) respect D. Periodically review and revise, if necessary, the mission statement, motto and guiding principles III. Personnel development and relations A. Hire qualified personnel 1. technical and interpersonal skills match the position 2. has attitude compatible with the mission statement 3. has ability and desire to expand skills
* This document was originally authored at the College of Arts and Science, University of Missouri-Columbia, 2/25/98

4. projects a spirit of teamwork B. Recognize and encourage qualities that are desirable in an employee 1. open-minded 2. versatile 3. responds positively to reasonable criticism 4. articulates concerns to colleagues and management 5. team attitude a) handles fair share of work b) supportive and encouraging c) respectful of concerns of others d) willing to modify own style and prejudices e) focused on the good of the group C. Foster a team spirit 1. encourage respectfulness and courtesy 2. give fair treatment to concerns of all personnel 3. distribute resources equitably 4. facilitate collaborative effort 5. develop shared principles 6. encourage individual achievement in harmony with group success D. Provide for the success of personnel 1. equip with necessary tools a) appropriate hardware b) appropriate software 2. educate a) provide technical training b) develop interpersonal skills c) explain their significance to the larger picture (1) how each individual helps fulfill the team’s mission (2) how the team helps fulfill the organization’s mission (3) how the organization serves the public E. Have clearly defined goals and standards 1. defining these goals and standards should be a collaborative effort 2. they should provide guidance for successful performance 3. they should reveal a map for advancement 4. they should bolster the mission statement 5. they should be constantly evaluated and modified to meet the challenges of a dynamically evolving industry F. Actively encourage professional growth G. Respect individuality and unique perspectives H. Be an advocate with upper management on behalf of personnel I. Create an atmosphere of honesty and integrity J. Lead by example IV. Client relations A. Listen and learn
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1. seek to understand the client’s viewpoint 2. approach problems and concerns from that viewpoint B. Establish mutually agreeable terms of success 1. form a clear understanding of client’s needs 2. provide a clear explanation of support capabilities 3. determine and clearly define a solution 4. establish reasonable and desirable expectations that produce a win-win result C. Provide opportunities to educate client for their success 1. understand the goals that client seeks to achieve with technology 2. advise client about effective and reasonable tools and methods 3. offer training a) computer hardware basics b) how to use tools of the operating systems c) network fundamentals and how to use them advantageously d) how to understand and use the tools of relevant applications e) how to successfully incorporate technical tools and skills into professional activities D. Always keep in mind four guiding principles 1. Listen 2. Learn 3. Educate 4. Cooperate E. Revisit clients regularly 1. check-up on implemented solutions 2. investigate new needs F. Refer to the team’s conflict resolution guidelines, if needed V. Resource management A. Develop a supportable and sustainable environment 1. hardware standards 2. software standards 3. open networking standards B. Maintain a serviceable inventory 1. have a five-year life cycle 2. limit the range of models installed 3. distribute according to user needs 4. index to industry trends C. Implement rigorous maintenance plans 1. purchase extended warranties 2. schedule inspections and cleanings 3. retain surplus equipment for salvage D. Plan for obsolescence 1. technical -- not compatible with other interdependent components 2. functional -- no longer meets the needs of the user
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E. Proactively evaluate emerging technologies and identify those that have relevance 1. strive to maintain continuity of service between installed technologies and developing technologies 2. consult with support team and the client community about how to integrate promising technologies

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