IT Support - Small Team Edition

One of the challenges of small IT teams, is how to cope with end user support, while continuing the main activities of the team. It applies to any small team. The challenges might be slightly different for internal IT teams and small IT businesses, but the key questions remain. Who should take care of it? How should the responsibility be assigned?

The Challenge

The case here is that the team is small and every member has a role to play. The manager cannot really afford to hire more people yet, so the support needs to be provided by the IT team at hand. Some of them might not have the soft skills to talk to the users effectively. There is varied degree of experience within the team.

The most disruptive and uncontrolled way of supporting the users is having it done by everyone at the same time. This is not best practice, not even a good practice. It is a terrible practice. The users may come by or call anyone at any time. Preferably the person generally is most helpful and most experienced at the same time. He or she will be automatically rendered least productive due to lack of time.

End user support is a vital service, but it needs to be provided in a structured way. Otherwise, the IT team will be constantly interrupted and will never be able to get other things done.

The Options

There are two ways this could be remedied:

  1. Rotational support assignment;
  2. Fixed, one-person service desk.

Both ways can work, but it very much depends on the team itself. If within the team there are a couple of people with decent customer handling skills, the rotational model should work. How do you know you have such people within the team? Just ask some of your users who is "nice and helpful". If they point to multiple people, try rotating them on the support assignment. This way each of them will be able to do their regular work, while contributing to the support.

On the other hand, if you have one or two people who are clearly best at providing end user support, consider rearranging their responsibilities, so that this becomes their main assignment. You need to capitalize on the skills and abilities you have.

Besides assigning the responsibility for end user support, you need to make sure that proper procedures and tools are in place.


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