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Strengthening the Partnership Between the WashU IT Service Desk and Deskside Teams

Walking a mile in another’s shoes just became more than a metaphor with the IT Service Desk and Deskside teams.

In July, the Tech Team Career Crossover program launched. This initiative aspires to build stronger relationships, bridge knowledge gaps, and better facilitate department collaboration in order to deliver better IT services to our WashU community.

Members selected for the program gain first-hand knowledge of the diversity within IT as they spend time cross-training, learning the ins and outs of different team workflows, and shadowing other technicians.

For example, as Deskside technicians spend approximately four hours training at the Service Desk before taking customer calls, Service Desk techs tour campus, study deskside technician processes, and then interact directly with users who need IT help.

“The experience has been really eye-opening for many of our members,” says Michelle Stirnemann, director of End User Services. “Since a lot of our team worked remotely, the actual size of our campus was a revelation to them. This experience truly increased their appreciation for how other techs navigate campus in order to serve our different customers.”

What started as a simple shadowing program has grown into a week-long immersion experience that cultivates empathy and understanding.

It also provides career development by expanding technical know-how and increasing the rate of first-call resolutions (addressing customer’s needs the first time they call).

As participants build a better understanding of the responsibilities and challenges faced by other teams, respect for each other’s skills and daily roles grow. Silos are broken down and competencies are built.

Initial results indicate an increase in enthusiasm for collaborative work on ongoing and upcoming projects, greater value placed on the different jobs within tech services, and a bigger appreciation for one another.

“We’re excited about the results we’ve seen so far,” says David Leisure, director of WashU IT Technical Services. “One Deskside tech even expressed a newfound respect for the speed and precision required by the Service Desk technicians to address user concerns promptly.”

In fact, the program has been so successful that it is now being incorporated into the onboarding process. And aims to continue indefinitely.

Nancy Webb, senior director of User Support for WUSM IT Support Services reveals the next program kickoff will be August 28.

The Tech Team Career Crossover program encourages people to leave their silos, develop new skills, and embrace a cooperative environment where WashU IT grows in strength, diversity, and ability.

Through this initiative our technicians will continue growing WashU IT as a cohesive, adaptable, and trusted provider of IT services throughout the university.