Tools (Using Them, Not Being One)
We’re talking about tools today as part of our Serve First series. In the last post, we covered how over-utilizing our people resources leads to an IT department that says, “No,” and doesn’t have time to be nice.
We have to find ways to create time without going on a hiring spree. One suggestion? Utilizing tools. Since the dawn of man, tools have separated us from the animals. But in IT? We revert to our hunter/gatherer ways. We (over) invest in incredibly smart people,but expect them to do it all– from the incredibly difficult to the mundane. If they take two minutes to go to the restroom, that’s two minutes they should have been working on another project. 100% utilization isn’t enough.
And then we wonder why they say no to new projects; why they can’t be nice. We’ve invested in fancy tools, but only use a fraction of their capabilities. To make matters worse, organizational knowledge-sharing is based on an individual’s preference, while juniors are on their own to learn more and move up.
Below is a visual representation of this current IT business model. You can see an over-investment in SMEs and underutilization of tools.
Below is the Serve First business model:
We must recognize we have limited resources. This requires a greater emphasis on tool utilization. It’s where the spare capacity exists. We must focus on how work gets done and then capture that organizational knowledge for all to benefit from. Doing so removes silos of information from one or two SMEs to sharing knowledge across all resources.
This also limits the negative impact departments face when individuals choose to leave. Continue to invest in your people, but make sure you retain the knowledge as well. Knowledge acquisition isn’t an either/or proposition where either our people benefit or we do. We can all benefit if we utilize the right tools.
Tools further allow us to create indicators detailing out what skill set is required to solve issues, which enables far greater efficiency in our people resources. Before, we needed a SME to look at how complex something was before deciding what needed to be done. Now, we can assign a SME to advanced, critical tasks while a junior is able to focus on the simpler, day-to-day work. By the way? This frees that SME up to say yes more often! To be nice!
When tools are more fully utilized, our organization’s work is more efficient; tools eliminate irrelevant information, thereby saving enormous amounts of time. Now that our team has more time, they can begin to provide operational and business insights services to increase the value of our department.