Creepiness–Convenience Tradeoff

A good article from the Nielsen Norman Group, a group that focuses on technology (generally software) user experiences. The site itself is a good resource for those developing technology for larger groups of people such as companies or the general public.

Summary: As people consider whether to use the new “creepy” technologies, they do a type of cost-benefit analysis weighing the loss of privacy against the benefits they will receive in return.

Hiring Interns

If you are fortunate enough to work at a company that has an intern program, make sure you take advantage of it. Having interns in an IT department is a great way to find new talent, extend the skills of existing staff, and bring young energy into the department.

Requirements for interns are not high. My top four items are

  1. Show Up On Time
  2. Work Hard
  3. Learn Fast
  4. Have Fun

This applies regardless of where in the IT department we are putting them. (It also applies to every job everywhere, but that is a different post.)

If the position is for the Help Desk, I would add 5) Basic troubleshooting skills, and 6) Friendly. If the position is a Business Analyst intern, I would add 5) good writing skills and 6) a sense of curiosity.

What’s that down there?

Ever looked out a window while in an airplane and wondered what you were looking at? Yeah, there an app for that. Also works for driving.

Unsurprisingly, Loeffler got the idea for the app on a plane. “I realized that most people don’t have my geology background, and that they might be missing out on some of the wonder of that view because there was no good way to know where exactly your plane was, let alone what stories the landforms below could tell,” he tells Co.Design over email. “I tested the GPS in my phone while flying, found that it worked, and realized that there was a great scientific outreach tool waiting to be made.” When you open the app, you draw your flight path (it can be very rough) to access the relevant data points, which are then downloaded to the app so you can access them offline.



McDonald’s Theory of…

I’ve used this technique before but haven’t heard it called this. The key is getting people to start throwing out stuff. No one wants to be the first. I believe it is also easier for some to respond to something than it is to come up with a blank sheet idea. Even if their reaction is “it sucks”, asking why will take you far towards a good solution.

The first step doesn’t matter

Businesses are littered with first steps. Attempts to change or improve that never get followed up on. A first release of a newsletter with no second.

Look at your intranet to see what is stale. See what hasn’t been update.
These are failures. You don’t get points for starting something. The first step is not the most important. That first step? It actually doesn’t matter.

Doesn’t matter how big it is. Doesn’t matter what direction it is. The first step just doesn’t matter.

What matters is what happens after the first step.

What matters is that an ongoing process is set up. A clear owner for the second step. A clear timeframe for each subsequent step.

Rolling out a PMO? That first batch of templates and processes doesn’t matter as much as setting up clear ownership, allocating resources, tasks to drive culture change, setting an update schedule, and having expiration dates to force continual review and updates.

IT Help Desk: What’s the Point?

There is an expectation in any non-small business that the IT department has a Help Desk. A phone number, email, location that is the central place to report IT problems. An expectation that the problems will get resolved quickly and efficiently. A place for IT questions, requests, and issues to go…ideally not to die, but to get addressed.

IT Help Desks, as implemented in most places, are a waste of company Continue reading “IT Help Desk: What’s the Point?”