Thursday, August 05, 2010

Teamwork, and "it is my job"; "Team Handbook" is still out there

I thought I would pass along this Tech Republic blog posting from the “Career Management” column of Toni Bowers, “It’s not my job: a self-fulfilling prophecy”.  The link is here.

She goes in to discussing the topic of teamwork, and that whole notion grew in the 1990s with notions like “Total Quality Management” and “Team Handbook”.

However, in many mainframe IT shops in the 1980s, it had become common for individual associates to “own” their own specific programs or batch jobs, especially those that ran in nightly cycles. As systems and interfaces grew more complex (often because of corporate mergers), personal turf protection had to give away to teamwork, even as employees got more nervous that they could become redundant.

In the “new age” workplace of web-based businesses, it seems that a lot more of the work is strategic, and sometimes “creative” (although some aerospace companies had encouraged “creativity time” as early as the 1960s). You certainly get that impression from video interviews conducted at Facebook by ABC and CBS, about what it is like to work in a place like Facebook or Google.

I encountered a different kind of teamwork issue in 2000 when I switched to the CUI customer service workbench support. There would be a lot of tickets (notification by pager in those days) where it was difficult to track the problem based on documentation that development analysts, without needing the help of more experienced support analysts. A similar work environment might exist at a cable, wireless or ISP company in customer service, where the home user notices patterns to problems that the support tech is unaware of. I had to make up a “cheat sheet” dataset and later internal web site to make a road map for solving support problems.

"Team Handbook" can be accessed here. It;s still out there.

And so is "TQM", or Total Quality Management, here.

I also remember the "customer service" parties, T-shirts, and balloons.  Sorry, I don't have any souvenirs left to photo.

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