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General Chat Thread, Team Review in General; Hi all, hope everyone is well..we have including myself 10 members of IT Support Staff. I dont think we are ...
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    Team Review

    Hi all, hope everyone is well..we have including myself 10 members of IT Support Staff. I dont think we are being productive enough, and some of them are spending too much time sat in their office doing well to be blunt nothing. we are all spread around the site so its difficult to monitor them. as the person in charge or as good as...i want to do a review on them but be it so they dont really notice it to be a review...you know what will happen, they will start doing work the moment you mention it!

    im at a point where im fed up of working like a slave and wanting to achive in the rle and do well for the school, and they are gettin paid to doin nothing and not caring....sooner employ someone else to do the job whop wants to work there! tho my boss says its not easy to just get rid of ppl...tho im sure there are loop holes we can ping them on to speed up the process....

    any thoughts or ideas would be good...

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    FN-GM's Avatar
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    Do you have a helpdesk in place?

    If not you could get one and fore everyone to make tickets. This way everyone will have a job and you can monitor them.

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    maniac's Avatar
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    Blimy, 10 members of support staff, that's quite a sizeable team. If you don't mind me asking, what size infrastructure are you supporting??

    Mike.

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    yeah we have a helpdesk system...difficult to fully pin point them with it though...ive got one tech who hasnt closed a job in around a week and spent two weeks transfering video from camera to pc to dvd...only a days worth of filming, no editing required...but insists on sitting there watching the video transfer....drives you mad...motivation of a dead fish!

    on the infrastructure topic....
    supporting around 650pc's
    200 laptops
    15 IWB's - 30 projectors all spread over 6 area's
    running our own ISA server, emal server, NAS storage, 3 DC's
    running on a 1GB network
    supporting e-learning development projects

    so you think we are over staff? sometimes i think we might be...

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    somabc's Avatar
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    Interesting for your first post, are you trying to conceal your identity from your team?

    You (or your NM) need to monitor the rate of jobs and personally I do not feel its fair to 'review' them without their knowledge. You should check the work rate informally, then set targets, then review those targets. You should be able to find out the total no of jobs logged, the response time and the clear up rate.

    If you have hired too many people you need to go through a redundancy process. It's not the teams fault if you hire 10 people to do the work of 3 for example.

    From the equipment you mention though I think you could half your teams size

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    elsiegee40's Avatar
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    By pretty much every poster's standards you have an ENORMOUS team to handle what you do.

    There are many posters here, coping with that size network with a smaller team.

    I think your ticketing system on the help desk is probably provideing the evidence you need. I cannot understand how your team got to this size.

    "There's too much work" just doesn't wash in most schools.

    When I was in business - an Insurance company - there were 20 of us; but we supported around 10k users (honestly) and their kit nationwide

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    1 - tasks should have a set time frame. With most jobs you can quantify the time and then you can find out why it is taking longer to do the job. It might be an idea to monitor them so they work at a reasonable rate and then you can set that as standard.

    2 - set up some scheduled tasks that you *know* take a certain amount of time ... cleaning filters in projectors, site walk around to identify faults (not fixing faults ... just a walk around to identify them for someone else to fix), cleaning the monitors, reimaging a workstation ... then you can allocate these as preventative maintenance.

    3 - if they are not doing anything give them some R&D to do. Look at digital signage, learn some php, test new software ... all of which requires a report which you can take to the SLT to show where the investment in the team is going.

    4 - look at the FITS materials to see what you are covering. If your team are not doing patch management or release management then here is another chunk to be managed by someone.

  8. Thanks to GrumbleDook from:

    Matt_Tate (15th October 2008)

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    not at all trying to conceal my identity...i was registered on here before but forgot my details, attempted to reset password and got caught up in the whole secuirty word/phrase thing and it wouldnt accept my details.

    its a difficult time as they are all young staff 21 and below, so maturity is well not good. i just compare a few of them to the others...some work hard and do work, others well dont. being young it seems like they are still in the school stage and think work is play time. problem its the older ones with the problems...the young ones are amazing at what they do.

    seems like i shall have to review their work loads more closely

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    Do they all have the same job title / job description?

    Do you carry out performance management (appraisals) of your team similar to the process your teachers go through?

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    maniac's Avatar
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    In my opinion I would say that 10 people is excessive for that size of system. Most schools I've come across would have a team of around 4 or 5 for that scale of system, but it does depend on what other tasks fall within the remit of your department, e.g maintaining websites, intranet, VLE etc. are all time consuming tasks that are on top of normal day-to-day maintenance, some schools have other people doing this, and some have their ICT support people doing this.

    Every member of staff should really have a performance management review once a year as a matter of course, and possibly more often if the school feels there are problems. Clear measurable targets can be set and a review date specified at the time. With a team consisting of many people, it's important to define roles and responsibilities within that team, invest in training to support those, and make sure that everyones time is used effectively. If no performance management has been carried out recently, then that may be a place to start.

    One of the first things I did when I started at a new school as network manager was make my two technicians write down in a general way what they did with their time, then it gave me a good starting point to find out what each member was good at, or areas where too much time was being spent, and areas where not enough time was being spent.

    Mike.
    Last edited by maniac; 15th October 2008 at 08:13 PM.

  12. Thanks to maniac from:

    Matt_Tate (15th October 2008)

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    ive only been in the role since april...sounds and feels along time ago since then but have been fire fighting ever since.

    i am desperate to set structure into the team, but is forever blocked by the NM, no school ICT policies, not written documentation on well anything, the team come and go as they please, most days turn up late and leave early...nm enforces the whole must be in at such time but they carry on being late...end of the day there is no consequence to their actions. i could go on...would really like to take in what staff want from the support team, then what we are doing, take the two...add in some FITS stuff and see where we go...but again blocked by NM....

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    I take it you are the Assistant NM / Senior tech or perhaps that the NM is a teacher and you manage the day to day stuff?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt_Tate View Post
    Hi all, hope everyone is well..we have including myself 10 members of IT Support Staff. I dont think we are being productive enough, and some of them are spending too much time sat in their office doing well to be blunt nothing. we are all spread around the site so its difficult to monitor them. as the person in charge or as good as...i want to do a review on them but be it so they dont really notice it to be a review...you know what will happen, they will start doing work the moment you mention it!

    im at a point where im fed up of working like a slave and wanting to achive in the rle and do well for the school, and they are gettin paid to doin nothing and not caring....sooner employ someone else to do the job whop wants to work there! tho my boss says its not easy to just get rid of ppl...tho im sure there are loop holes we can ping them on to speed up the process....

    any thoughts or ideas would be good...
    Aha! The word "team". It evokes loverly pictures of the IT Crowd in my little mind, but I digress...

    There are basically two types of team (and since you use that term yourself it would appear that you see the situation in very much those terms). One is the mix of complementary skills and responsibilities where "problems" move very smoothly between individuals in the team who through their personal competencies add their unique value to the whole thing, and this tends to help produce a much better result than any one technician or manager could ever achieve on their own.

    The other type is the less "sophisticated" and less "mature" version, and this team lacks complementary and unique skills (skills in this kind of team are about the same for each member) so that when problems arise there is no "ownership" and therefore no added value. One book I read on this described a similar team environment in terms of a football match- the ball goes down the left wing and everyone follows it, bunching up in a panic in order to "get the ball". What we need to happen is that each player brings their own sense of responsibility into the equation and also their own unique skills- that's why footballers have their own position and their skills tend to reflect that central ethos.

    I would say- you need to stop thinking of your technicians as a team right now (they may become one, but aren't operating as one now). Teamwork involves taking a problem that one skillset could never solve on its own and by using different sets of skills found in each member adding value to the solution and reaching a conclusion. Far fetched? Not really. Because what you are seeing is a breakdown of this natural process and so it is affecting productivity and expectations are falling as a consequence.

    So- *ownership* tends to be the management solution to this problem. Assign specific tasks to your technicians that are within their talent and skills area, and allow them to take ownership of the situation. This tends to give staff a better reason to come to work every day other than money

    The benefits? Increased productivity and the opportunity to fail in private- not in front of the whole "team".

    The downside? As part of the management solution to this problem it is your job to assess what the individual value of each member is and where their skills are and how these fit into your company picture. It's all about valuing staff to add value to the company. So to carry out reviews of the staff individually you need to first stop seeing this as a team and begin looking at each one and how they perform when offered tasks that suit their skillset. A help desk system is a good way to start, but meetings with each one and assignment of tasks individually would be a better way to go at the start- that way you aren't "measuring performance" but rather "evaluating effectiveness".

    By "tasks" I mean areas that the technician can take ownership of and develop, not job tickets that get handed out in addition to this!

    Don't forget too that the manager *as leader* is just as important as each individual in the support department. Sometimes the support structure fails because the manager doesn't manage, or doesn't lead from the front. Self-assessment isn't just for tax returns

    Change requires a leader who will make decisions, set direction, delegate responsibilities and keep the "team" on course. So really what I am saying is start with yourself and work down. Think and plan in terms of more individuality and you might find that people have a bigger sense of worth in your department and so contribute more to it by adding their value to tasks. In ye olden days it was called "staff development"

    HTH?

    Paul

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    maniac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt_Tate View Post
    ive only been in the role since april...sounds and feels along time ago since then but have been fire fighting ever since.

    i am desperate to set structure into the team, but is forever blocked by the NM, no school ICT policies, not written documentation on well anything, the team come and go as they please, most days turn up late and leave early...nm enforces the whole must be in at such time but they carry on being late...end of the day there is no consequence to their actions. i could go on...would really like to take in what staff want from the support team, then what we are doing, take the two...add in some FITS stuff and see where we go...but again blocked by NM....
    Reading between the lines there, you sould like you are basically dis-satisfied with the way your NM is running the department, in which case I think an informal meeting with them to raise your concerns may be in order, or you can do it in writing formally if you think it's necessary.

    Then, and only then, if you still feel like you're still not getting anywhere and you're still 'concerned' I think it would be fair to raise the issue higher up. It's only fair to talk to the person directly first thou. The thing is if you go down this road, be prepared to ruffle some feathers and probably make a few enemies on the way as people hate it when you step above their heads, but sometimes this is the only way.

    I've seen it before where the NM was so good at talking the talk that he was able to pull the wool completely over the headteachers and management teams eyes. It was only when someone else came along and told it to them how it was, with supporting paperwork, they actually realised how far off the mark the origenal NM had been.

    Of course the other option is to up-sticks and gain employment somewhere else.

    Mike.
    Last edited by maniac; 15th October 2008 at 08:29 PM.

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    Few things really, for that size of network the team is way too big, probably by about 4 staff.
    You mentioned they are spread around the school, is there any way you can change that so they are in one big office, it's the first thing I did when I started at my school.
    Next is to assess their abilities and give them responsibility for certain areas and make it so it tests their ability and pushes them. Change the roles round a bit after a while as it can get boring doing the same things all the time.
    Start scheduling the jobs and set sensible time limits and if they go over the question why.
    If they are leaving early, schedule work for them to do after school, maybe an after school computer club or get a maintenance schedule for the ICT suites.

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