These Create Unhappy Users, Technicians, and Cost Money!
We have all been there. Regardless of your capacity during the Technology Deployment, we have all experienced the pain of things not being designed, planned, or thought through before going live with the deployment. Some of these things should be addressed during the design stage, yet a lot of them would fall under best practices in most businesses. It is still amazing how much of it slips through the cracks.
Lack of a Complete Deployment Script / Checklist
Sounds simple and straightforward, however it is one of the most often neglected items. How can you expect a Technician to do every step of the Deployment without that being on the script? Telling someone isn’t good enough. People forget things. Like their keys, where they put their glasses, where they parked, etc. Without a complete, step by step script, how do you expect them not to make a mistake? How do you create a complete script? Doing machines before the deployment and documenting every step. Assume nothing! If you must type something to get where you need to be, put it in the script! If you need screenshots, put it in the script! This is especially true if you are using Contract Technicians, as they won’t know your processes like your IT team does. After a few machines, the Technicians may not need the full script, create a checklist with the milestones of each step on it. That way they can just check it off. Doing these things in preparation of the Technology Deployment will set you up for success, and many less headaches.
Lack of Training for the Deployment Technicians
Again, this also sounds like a no-brainer. Yet a good many of the lower tier Contract Technicians are straight out of school, if they have even finished school yet. They have technical skills sure, or they wouldn’t be working in this field. The question is, have they ever been taught people skills?, taught proper dress code?, coached on how to interact with the users in your offices? More professional appearances and mannerisms will go a long way in putting your users at ease when someone comes into their office or cubical to replace their equipment. Technicians that are too busy playing games on their phones to pay attention to other users or things going on around them do not give a sense of confidence to either the users or the office managers.
Lack of Proper and Concise Communication with the User
In the same vein, these new Technicians may be lacking in the communication skills necessary to not only convey to the user what is going to happen during the deployment, but also walking the user through their new machine or software setup. Sometimes it is difficult for a technical person to put themselves in the place of the non-technical user and walk them step by step through a new set up. Technicians must be coached to slow down and take that time to make sure the user can open their email, find their files, print to their default, etc. Again, these things should be on the Deployment Script, and if the Technician follows the script, this will be covered. Coach them not to rush the user. No matter how many machines you must do, the most important one is the one you are doing at that moment! Coach the Technicians to be aware as they walk through the office. If you see one of your users whose machine you have already finished, ask them if everything is working well. This will give the entire office a sense of calm, something in short supply during Technology Deployments!
Required Software Not Installed or Available
Address this early in the Design stage. Few things worse for both the user and the Technician than to spend an hour backing up, installing, restoring, and prepping a new computer, then find out that user required software isn’t installed! You must then reinstall the old machine. The user can then go back to work, after losing two hours. I cannot stress this enough. Each different department that uses different software must have machines scanned and imaged specifically for each department! Test this before the deployment starts! Having to send a Tech back for a revisit because this wasn’t done, only costs more money.
Legacy hardware should be vetted before the Deployment starts. The existing equipment that has been around since the XP era (printers, scanners, etc.), will need to be checked for compatibility. Do this before going ahead with the Deployment. If it isn’t, then you will know which machines not to replace during the Deployment. You can address those later when either drivers become available, or you buy new equipment.
Dealing with Out-Of-Scope Work
It is inevitable, as Technicians are working, users will ask them about other IT problems they have been having. If the Technicians are contract workers, you probably don’t want them working on things other than the Deployment. I understand the user point of view. They’ve had this problem for a long time. IT has never come to fix it, now I have an IT guy here right now, he can fix it! Coach your Technicians that if it is something simple, 10 minutes or less, go ahead and help the user. If it looks like something longer than that, or something you are not familiar with, just inform the user, politely, that you are not with the IT department, only a contractor, and they need to put in a ticket. Spending too much time on these things as a contractor costs the project money!
As you can see, with a little foresight and Design work on the front end of the Deployment Project, not only will you have a smoother, more professional Deployment, but you will also have a much happier user staff. All the while, saving the company money. A total win-win!
With 30 years of retail management experience and over a decade of technology and field services experience, Jack has successfully blended his experience in both fields to give retailers an insight few others can offer. He understands the pressures of being in a leadership role in a fast paced, retail environment with superior customer service always being a primary focus. He uses his passion for computing to help retailers utilize technology to increase customer satisfaction and expand their brand. As Founder of OPL Technologies, he is positioned as an expert in designing and managing complex retail technology deployments.