Some End Users Are Like Squeaking Brakes

It has been a busy couple months and amongst the multiple projects I have been involved with, I have been living through a complete revamp of our network. During this time, I happened to be going thru some car problems too. They don’t seem to be like topics that go together, but stay with me for a second.

We all have  been behind the car that has the squeaking brakes (I hope they weren’t mine) and most of us realize that when your brakes are squeaking, you have to pay attention to them. Well, if you are a nonprofit techie, you probably know which end users are your squeaking brakes. You can probably start rattling their names off without even a moment to think. I believe that they tend to be your more computer-savvy users and they have a defined idea of how things should work. They are probably the most likely to identify their computer that they use at work as “their computer” and challenge you at all times. Often, you don’t have to go to them to ask them out things are going – they are coming right up to you and telling you what isn’t the way that they desire.

But there are other problems that I had with me car this year. I had a lot of vibration in the steering wheel and my mind started to churn all kinds of problems that it could be. All were expensive to solve too. Well, I think that there are end users that fall in this category too. You may not have to do much with them, but when something starts to go wrong with them, it tends not to be an easy solution at all. Since it is more sporadic, you may have to actually stop and think about who falls in this category, but once you start thinking about it, you know who these end users are. I believe that they are the workhorse workers and they can go with changes to the computers that you are doing usually without any problems. But once one thing, that is most vital to their job, starts going wrong, everyone is going to know – especially their boss and their boss’ boss. You have to solve problems with this group pretty quickly.

There is still another group. This is the oil change group. You know of horrible things that can go on if you don’t change your oil. But really, there aren’t to many symptoms that you are due for that 3,000 mile oil change in your car. You actually need that sticker on the driver side of the windshield to remind you that you have to get your oil changed. These end users haven’t fallen into any of the other two types and you might have to actually think about them. They may not even know that you have a techie on staff. Because these end users aren’t going to show signs of problems such as squeaking brakes or vibrating steering wheels, you have to stop and focus on them.  For your entire car to run, all parts have to run.  These end users may even need more of your attention than the other two groups – and you may not even know it.

In the end, the work that I had to do on my car wasn’t as expensive as I feared. But I still have the squeaking brakes (they claim that they are A-OK and sometimes brakes just squeak. The same goes with your end users. Some are never going to stop needing that specialized attention that you don’t have to go find out about. But please, don’t forget those silent end users. They need just the same amount of attention!


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