Hello everyone! This week, let’s take a look at the relationship between IT support and projects.
First, ask yourself these 3 key questions:
- Is your support team happy when a project ends and the Lead Tech steps away?
- Are you sure (really)?
- Have you asked them?
From my experience, there are two areas of bumpiness in the relationship between Project Teams and Support Teams. The bumpiness is often caused by confusions:
- While a project is going on, and
- In the first 30 days after it concludes
What really goes on in IT Projects
Many Support Techs have spent considerable time working on a Customer request, only to find out that a Project is going on and may have caused the Issue. Now – quite frankly – half of the time the Issue is due to the Project; the rest are just coincidences, but the Project always gets blamed.
I saw this occurrence many years ago back when I was in the Television Broadcast Industry. We were the new kids on the block, and the station I was working for was constantly receiving complaints of us interfering with everything, including the menstrual cycle of pigs (it was in a rural Ohio town).
One day at lunch, one of the other Chief engineers from a well-established network station commented that his complaints were up significantly. (FYI: We got together once a month to coordinate Microwave channels – at least this is what we said, we had agreed years ago on which station was using which channel, and to my knowledge, it never changed – we mostly complained about Sales).
My response was “that’s funny, ours is way down.” We then realized there had been a big announcement about the other station upping their power with a new type of antenna, and sure enough, they got blamed for the pigs.
So, you see, this is not a new phenomenon, but it is one the Techs still needs to run to the ground. There are two things that help speed up the process and make the Customer experience more effective (as well as increase the Support Team’s efficiency):
- A projects insight panel in the right panel of the Incident Ticket Category.
- A daily report showing all active projects and/or all projects with scheduled engagements for the day.
If the Techs know a project is going on and what type of project it is, they’re smart enough to figure out:
- If there is impact
- Whom to call to confer
- Whom to escalate to immediately, or
- In the case of a coincident – they need to continue looking for a smoking gun.
Tackling Post Project Problems
After the project is supposedly completed and the Lead Tech has walked away,the problem is compounded. First, support is left holding the bag; second, the lead tech does not like to be dragged back to fix something they left undone (especially if we are talking about Client Documentation).
Tracking recently completed projects is more than just grey matter. Remembering the daily on-going projects from a few weeks back or maintaining a list on the cube wall is not possible, and a daily report of recently closed projects seems like overkill.
Based on discussions in the MSP-Ignite IT Service Manager Peer Groups, the solution is having Support fill out and sign-off on a Project closeout checklist. This checklist goes a long way in shifting responsibility from Project to Support, making sure the documentation is complete, and informing Support of the New Customer and/or New Network.
While the transition is still rocky, the time duration is shortened to a few days, and it is the last few days of the project before the Lead Tech is released. Not only is the time period shortened, but it is strategically planned at the right time when Project Engineers and Support Techs are collaborating to get the project completed and not fighting or finger-pointing.
So what does a checklist look like? I do not have one at my fingertips, but I can tell you it is a living document owned by IT Support. Ask your IT Support Team to put one together for your Managed Service Provider operations. They could create one quickly and update the checklist every time they are hung out to dry.
We are here to help. If your Managed Service Provider Service Delivery is struggling to manage projects, let us know by replying below or emailing me at SBuyze@SBuyze.com.