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However much you and I may love our IT jobs, some things irritate us. It might be a small, niggling annoyance (Why do we have to wait for laggards to show up before starting a conference call?) or a systemic problem (Company management somehow believes that disaster recovery planning is optional). Obviously, some problems are easier to solve than others. A word of caution: Expect the disaster recovery program to be implemented long before sensible teleconference behavior.
As it turns out, IT professionals have some commonalities in their wish lists. In a survey of techies I found several themes in the answers to my question, "What would you include on a list of 'If all these things happened in my professional life in IT, just once, I could die happy'?"
While looking at these 40 responses, you may bang your fist on the table and shout, "Me too!" And, maybe, with a bit of thoughtfulness and planning, a business exec might make a few of these dreams come true. Isn't it pretty to think so?
Whether an employee is a system administrator, project manager, or software developer, you can count on a rousing cheer at the idea of replacing an old and troublesome technology with, well, a new and troublesome technology.
There are two kinds of fool. One says, 'This is old, and therefore good.' And one says, 'This is new, and therefore better.'
Dean William IngeDean of St. Paul's Cathedral
But nothing generated more emphatic agreement among those I surveyed than the daydream of getting rid of printers: "We go truly and fully paperless, and I can throw the printers off a cliff," wishes one sys admin.
Among the responses on the theme "My life would be complete if we could get rid of…" were:
A variation on "replace the hateful legacy system" was a more positive desire to build a better company infrastructure, and by "better" I mean whatever the techie prefers:
Or indulge in a nerd cave:
Is it possible for these techies' dreams to come true? Certainly, most company execs like to think that they're modernizing the infrastructure as quickly as they can afford to. But for plenty of IT staff, it can't happen soon enough.
Forrester report: IT decision makers share insights on the technologies, challenges, and benefits gained from their hybrid IT models.
Tired of work overload
Not everything that frustrates IT employees is about equipment. They wish that the constant stream of work requests would let up every so often, that they could find the right information to get their work done, and that they could leave work at a reasonable hour:
One issue is a desire to be trusted to manage one's own time. That's not just a matter of "Go home early today. Preferably right now." Several people wished management trusted employees to balance work and life without it hurting the company. One respondent said he would like to:
Here, perhaps, thoughtful leadership can make a difference. One suggestion: Consider the metrics for success in each department—and let the reward for reaching them be time to oneself. Or at least provide a better help desk management system.
On time, on budget, on spec—pick any two. Or so the saying goes. Wouldn't it be amazing if once—just once!—a project went the way it was supposed to?
For example, IT staff wished for:
Or at the very least, it'd be nice for the project documentation to be helpful:
One techie rolled all those project dreams into one:
Want to earn the most money? Focus on the most valuable certifications and training.
Is it too much to ask for a reasonable budget to accompany all this?
Maybe it is too much to hope for clients or end users to know what they need, be willing to pay for the work to be done with quality, and resist the urge to change their minds. Well, more than once.
But there are such things as project management best practices, Agile techniques, and business attitudes that reward staff for its innovations and improved workflow.
Think creatively. How can you reward staff for improving business processes?
Even if IT workers can't build the data center of their dreams, ban a despised content management system, or go a single day without a new trouble ticket landing in their in-box, can't they at least work more comfortably?
The easiest wish-list item to provide is among the most earnestly hoped-for (and most frequently mentioned): the opportunity to telecommute.
If there's any "make 'em happy!" process the boss can implement, surely it's this one. Despite a lot of corporate pushback on telecommuting, it's entirely possible to build a team where location is not a factor. It may even save your company money.
Once upon a time, IT staff called them lusers—and got away with it. Now everyone has to use words like "stakeholders" and "end users," but that has made them no less irksome. As one IT pro wrote wistfully about his bucket list item: "Never having to deal with users again. That'd be pretty high up there for me."
It isn't only end users who present problems—and make techies wish the troublemakers would go away:
I'd give you pithy advice here, but suggestions like "How about giving people useful training classes?" or "Send them to conferences so they can better learn their tools" seem too obvious.
This is the real world. The budget is limited. Management can't control unruly users. The project spec is eligible for a Hugo award.
But managers and execs have power over at least one thing: How they treat the staff. Managers and leaders control the company culture; nobody else does.
My heartfelt plea to every boss: Trust your people. Invest in them. Recognize that they want the company to succeed at least as much as you do. Tell them thank you, every so often—particularly to acknowledge work well done.
Is that so hard?
For the final wish list item, one IT pro suggests:
"What? Bucket lists have limitations?" he asks.
Got a bucket list item of your own to add? Tweet it to me @estherschindler.
This article/content was written by the individual writer identified and does not necessarily reflect the view of Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company.