Jul 212011

IT Service Delivery is the customer facing side of our IT department. After the Helpline, we are the people the customer phone when they’ve suffered poor service and we end up having to take the flak when things go wrong. As IT regularly does go wrong in a large organisation like ours, at any one time there’s always at least one dissatisfied customer looking for an opportunity to vent in the expectation that we will drag the people concerned out of the IT office, line them up against the wall and shoot them on their behalf.

The secret is to put on your game face, engage each one professionally and courteously and not get disheartened. Indeed some encounters can be quite pleasurable, but on the whole they aren’t. I was finding that after about seven years in this role I was getting less and less tolerant and it was sometimes hard to maintain the necessary decorum.

Like most companies these days we undertake performance reviews. At my last review I mentioned I fancied a change and I’d quite like to move away from the IT Service Delivery role. So I would welcome some development opportunities (training) which would provide me with additional skills, with which I could seek opportunities elsewhere within the IT department.

“They’re always looking for developers”, says my boss. “If I had the skills I’d be interested”, says I. A few weeks and zero training later and I’m now sat on the top floor in “Development Team C”, tasked with developing an electronic forms solution (something we have never done before) to interface with a multi-million pound project set to go-live at the end of the year. In at the deep end is a bit of an understatement.

Not long after my last performance review my boss moved onto a new role and it seems to me my new masters couldn’t wait to get rid of me and used the review as the catalyst for off-loading me. Am I feeling like an integral and valued member of the IT department? What do you think!

Anyway, here I am surrounded by programmers who’ve been doing this for years. They have their own language which mainly consists of acronyms. If I was to type a typical conversation up here I’d do so with Caps Lock turned on.

As well as learning to speak Geek, I’m reading up on PL/SQL, ASP.NET, Atern principles and DSDM methodologies while at the same time trying to write Functional Definitions (whatever they are) for the electronic forms and trying get to grips with the development tools I’ll be using to actually create them, while also struggling to understand all the various processes and procedures employed in my new role. Do I know what I’m doing? Do I heck as like!

Any significant change which takes us out of our comfort zone presents a challenge and can be quite stressful. I’m trying to rise to the challenge without suffering the stress. After all, I’ve been with the company for thirty-five years so I’ve seen a few changes in my time and managed to survive them all.

On the subject of stress, the guy who off-loaded me so readily had a heart attack last week, but being the trooper he is he still turned in for work the following day (only to be sent home again). Undeterred he turned up again the next day and this time stayed long enough to collapse and is now sat in a hospital bed sending people e-mails from his company supplied BlackBerry. If you’re willing to kill yourself for the firm, the firm will make all the right noises, but ultimately, will let you. Am I going to kill myself? Am I bo**ocks!

My new boss has just put an appointment in my diary for a performance review. this could be fun 😉