The Parable of the Bricklayer

What kind of bricklayer are you? Are bricklayer building an impenetrable wall or are you helping build the business through user oriented IT?

What kind of bricklayer are you? Are bricklayer building an impenetrable wall or are you helping build the business through user oriented IT?

The user-centered approach to IT can be a difficult one to consider when your current world is focused on firefighting call queues and dealing with irate employees who are experiencing technology failures while being asked to cut costs at every turn.

It sounds like your Incident management is broken and you need a new tool to fix it right? Well that’s possible, but have you considered taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture from a user’s point of view.

Consider the parable of the bricklayer:

A man was walking to work when he passed a building site where there were a number of construction site workers. He was curious about what was planned for the site as it was in his neighborhood.  He asked the first worker what he was doing.

The first worker said, “I’m a brick layer so I’m taking bricks piling one on top of another and putting cement between them to hold them together. “ The worker went back to his task grumbling that he must get this finished before lunch and move on to the next task on his list.

Meanwhile the curious man still wasn’t sure what was going on so he asked a second bricklayer the same question and he answered “I’m putting up a wall. We are on a huge construction project and my job today is to build the outside wall before I go home.”

The man walked on and asked a third worker what he was doing. The third worker responded with pride in his voice, “We are just beginning to build a brand new wing for this school which is nurturing and educating the next generation to be the greatest thinkers and leaders for our nation. So I am helping build a great environment that will benefit all our futures.”

From the three site workers the man got three different perspectives, each saw his task in a different scenario.  One was focused on the immediate task in hand, the second saw he was contributing to something bigger although still only concerned about the immediate job in hand while the third was doing exactly the same job but he saw the bigger picture vision and future benefit beyond the daily need.

Your call queues might be high because there is a reoccurring incident that is really annoying your users, which really just needs problem management to get to the root cause in order to reduce your calls. You may actually be constantly firefighting because the rest of the business thinks your only concern is fixing technical failures not providing IT solutions to generate new revenues. As a result, they impose their IT solutions upon you to execute rather than consulting you.

You might have irate employees who don’t see why they should be phoning to tell you that the email server is down because they think you should know this already. They think rather than incident management what you really need is integration with Event management to help you know about these kind of outages so that your users don’t feel they have to tell you about them. Your costs may be high because you have a great Incident management system but when it comes to request management you have no integration to automatically deploy software requests so your man hour labor costs are disproportionately high through incessant manual upgrades.

Thinking beyond simple incident management or even service management to how your users see things will take you on your first steps to User Centered IT as well as a way of inspiring your team to greater things. So the question is this: What kind of bricklayer are you? Are bricklayer building an impenetrable wall or are you helping build the business through user centered IT?