One of the problems IT support teams encounter consistently is white noise. But what is white noise? We all have our ideas, but at its core, “white noise” is simply another word for “distractions.”
If white noise is the disease, what are the symptoms? How do we know our IT team is infected by white noise?
1. Important things get ignored.
When an IT department has to deal with white noise, important tasks get sidelined. How often have you asked for project updates only to hear week after week the project hasn’t moved forward? Your frustration grows and you begin asking, “What have you been doing all week?” The answer we usually hear is centered on a lot of busywork. But the real answer? White noise.
2. Issues take longer to resolve because there is no clear process in place.
When white noise creeps up, it can be challenging to pinpoint a starting location. You meant to create process flow charts. You meant to document incident support flows, but other issues kept popping up. Distractions kept demanding your attention. Yet again, white noise is a disease that infects the best of us.
3. No one knows whose issue it is.
“Not my job!” “Not my problem!” Who hasn’t heard this? As white noise infects your team, members will begin pointing fingers at each other until, eventually, walls get built between the team. Some diseases present themselves as an entirely different problem. White noise can behave this way, also. You may think you have morale issues or personality conflicts, but the real issue may be white noise infection.
4. Engineers get pulled away to triage non-issues.
Everything is urgent. This statement is a bit tongue-in-cheek, but doesn’t it feel that way? Any IT issue that comes up from other business areas also comes loaded with urgency. Oftentimes, those “urgent issues” are rarely urgent. But the team reacts and begins working on problems that aren’t mission critical. White noise takes all shapes and forms.
5. Executives get the impression there are always problems with IT.
This one is tough. And it’s a classic symptom of white noise infection. Too often, executives get the impression IT is the problem child. The reason projects are over budget and off schedule? IT! Because that’s what they hear from every department head, manager, and director. But this is again, only a symptom of white noise infection. If the team wasn’t chasing non-issues, making up processes as they worked, and if projects were coming in on time, in budget, and in scope? All of these issues go away. We need to focus on the root cause of these symptoms: white noise.