Technology Management – Lessons Learned

Posted by Debby on 26th June and posted in EDC 668

Ok, I’m going to try and use this as a lesson in technology management and leadership. Something to learn from every experience, right? If you don’t want the story, skip to the end for the lessons!

All of a sudden yesterday, I stopped receiving incoming email on my Porterville College address, my primary email. I could send out, and test messages weren’t bouncing. No error were coming up when I checked mail. I had Val shoot off some tests since she is in the same district. She sent, I didn’t receive. I was starting to get a little concerned because earlier in the day I had sent out an email to some students asking for comments on an experience we had.

 At this point it was after 5pm, so I sent off an email to the lead IT guy at the district. A few hours later, one of the other district IT guys called me at home. Apparently what had happened was this…

Our campus is in the process of switching over to the Microsoft Exchange server. This is something that has been talked about for over a year, and the other two campuses in our district have already done it. My campus has held out for a variety of reasons. Yesterday, the techs on my campus decided it was my turn to switch – with no notice to me! The district guy told me that the decision had been made on my campus to switch first, train later… the opposite of what the other campuses had done. They decided to do it over the summer so they wouldn’t have to be bothered with questions and training. A couple of workshops will be offered at the flex day training a few days before school starts in August.

I sent an email to the campus tech that said “Ok, so next time just give me a heads up so I don’t freak out when my primary email address stops working all of a sudden. I am probably the least freakable person on campus when it comes to technology changes, but this one had me going.” I can just imagine the fallout from this when the totally clueless discover their email doesn’t work like it used to anymore. At least my mail wasn’t lost, it was just sitting in a new home waiting for me to find it.

Lessons learned:

  1. Clue in your users about changes AHEAD of time, especially when messing with their computer. Provide training so they know what to expect. (Campus IT)
  2. People skills can go a long way in smoothing ruffled feathers. The district IT guy couldn’t find my home phone number at night and made the effort to track me down through my college website. We spent a while just talking shop after the problem was solved and that was nice. Thanks guys! (District IT)
  3. It never hurts to make nice to the techs. They guys at district know me and like me. I’m sure that’s why they made the effort to call last night instead of making me sweat it out until this morning. (User perspective)
  4. Setting up folders, filters, signatures, auto-replies, address book entries, and newsgroups in a new, unfamiliar interface 2 weeks before f2f meetings is a major PIA! (um, Dougly, can you send me those newsgroup settings now?) Had they asked me, I would have requested to wait 3 weeks before the switch!

Oy vey!

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