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Dispatches From Afar: Building and Managing a Distributed Desktop Team
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Dispatches From Afar: Building and Managing a Distributed Desktop Team


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In companies with offices in multiple geographic locations, it's the nature of desktop support to work in and manage teams that are widely scattered. Ten years ago, companies had the budget and …

In companies with offices in multiple geographic locations, it's the nature of desktop support to work in and manage teams that are widely scattered. Ten years ago, companies had the budget and resources to bring people together for training and team building, but in the current climate of reduced staff levels and nonexistent travel budgets, how do you build and maintain an effective distributed desktop support team?

This presentation talks about:

- The essential technical and nontechnical elements for building a cohesive distributed desktop support team
- Ways of effectively leveraging communication technologies to strengthen a distributed desktop support team
- Characteristics to look for when staffing a distributed desktop support team
- The five essentials of a distributed desktop support team
- Tips to follow and pitfalls to avoid when building a distributed desktop support team.

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  • Your field folks may not be in intimate contact with the procedures for accessing various Corporate resources. By exploring and learning those Corporate processes, and especially by forging relationships with the “action people” in those departments, you can become a valuable liaison between your field folks and the mother ship. This will strengthen and reinforce their relationship with you.
  • Transcript

    • 1. Michael FisherMolina Healthcare, Inc.
    • 2.  Nationwide Desktop Support teams are, by their nature, “scattered groups.” Business demands on Desktop Support are ever-increasing. We don’t have team-building budgets that once existed. Challenge: How to build an effective, cohesive team?
    • 3.  This session will look at strategies, techniques and tips for building and maintaining a distributed Desktop Support team. Uses many of the same tools as building a local team. Since contact in a Distributed Team is all electronic or virtual, the task of binding such a team together becomes much trickier.
    • 4.  Michael Fisher ◦ Has worked in and led distributed IT teams for much of his IT career Reed Business Information ◦ Global organization, managed IT for San Jose, Scottsdale and LA offices. Company HQ on East Coast, nationwide presence ◦ Managed distributed team developing single Disk Image for AD migration FOX Networks Group ◦ Nationwide Help Desk & Desktop Support Molina Healthcare…
    • 5.  Medicare/Medicaid operations in 16 states Currently ~5000 employees Nationwide Desktop Support team ◦ DTS has grown from 19 in 2009 to 31 in 2012 ◦ Company grew from ~2500 in 2009 to ~5000 in 2012 No single-point Service Desk. Blended Tier 1 between Phone Support & Desktop Support ◦ Desktop has a larger Tier 1 presence DTS Team initially forged by Peter Schnack starting in 2008
    • 6.  Moves Break/Fix Hardware Issuance & Recovery New Hires Inventory Management Physical Security Onsite resource for Networking, Infrastructure, etc. …whatever needs doing that other teams aren’t doing.
    • 7.  In many cases, your Desktop Support resource in the field may be the only IT person on site. This means: ◦ They are likely to be called on to assist network, telecom and server teams ◦ They are also likely to be the main liaison between IT and the local business. The successful remote DS tech will assume a high degree of ownership for their IT environment
    • 8. Characteristics of a Good Remote Desktop Worker Self-Motivated Good Communicator Good at Connecting With Others Sense of Ownership• Independent…but Respects the Organization• Takes Initiative…but Communicates
    • 9. Steady, Reliable Performers • Want to “do the Desktop job” • Enjoy People • “Organizationally Mature” Low Performers High Performers60 70 80 90 100 110 120 130 140 Seek people who will stick around.
    • 10.  UNIFORMITY ◦ Uniformity and standardization are key. TOOLS ◦ Standardized Imaging Procedures ◦ Packaged Software, Standardized Procedures DOCUMENTATION ◦ Team “Run Book” ◦ Single Reference Library  Build it in SharePoint  Refer to it regularly in Team communications If your company lacks standardization, create your own.
    • 11.  METRICS ◦ Customer Satisfaction ratings ◦ Ticket Documentation Quality ◦ Compare Production to Levels of Business Activity BUT BE CAREFUL… ◦ Avoid metrics that can be easily “Gamed” ◦ Be careful about pitting your team against each other
    • 12.  PEOPLE TOOLS ◦ Scheduled 1:1 Meetings ◦ Defined Format for 1:1 Meetings  Forms documenting items discussed  Consistent and Regular ◦ The point is to become a solid, predictable foundation for your remote Team Members
    • 13.  Between yourself and your team members ◦ Call and Check In ◦ Take Interest, Learn Your Team ◦ Be Interested and Be Involved Between the various team members ◦ Encourage Team Interdependence ◦ Make them each other’s Technical Resources ◦ Cover for each other ◦ “Buddy List”
    • 14.  Between yourself and the local business at each location ◦ Get to know the key people at each remote location  If needed, you can advocate on your Remote Desktop worker’s behalf  If you have a problem with your Remote Desktop worker, the Local Business can assist with “boots on the ground”
    • 15.  Between yourself and the organization as a whole ◦ Human Resources ◦ Finance  Payroll  Expense Reimbursement  Asset Procurement ◦ Facilities ◦ Get to know the people who “get things done” ◦ Become the person who knows how things happen
    • 16.  Remote Staff are at a distance from Corporate Resources Leverage your relationships with “Action People” in Corporate departments ◦ Become a liaison between your Remote Team and the “mother ship” ◦ This will strengthen their relationship to you
    • 17.  “Brand” your team ◦ Email Signatures ◦ Name ◦ Logo ◦ T-shirts, hats, mousepads Create team legends, histories, traditions Identify and celebrate “Team Heroes” Celebrate personal events
    • 18.  Use technology to bring your team together. ◦ Regular team conference calls  Engage different team members to present “cool geek tricks” ◦ Video Conferencing ◦ Facebook page ◦ Twitter feed / Team hashtag Ask your team for their ideas.
    • 19.  Create an all-team DL and use it regularly to send communications to the team. Encourage people to reach out to the team for advice or with technical questions. ◦ Buddy System Employ humor.
    • 20.  Get the Right People Establish Standards Build Relationships Be A Resource Create a Team Identity
    • 21.  Tailor Your Solution To Your Team There is no “One Magic Bullet” COMMUNICATE
    • 22. @michaelrfisher Thanks for your time! 