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#1 Winstinology  Icon User is offline

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How do you deal with people?

Posted 19 June 2008 - 12:05 PM

How do you deal with people in the office, or just in general, who don't know jack about dick of what you do? I'm a programmer for a small state/fed. office, It's in Alaska so we don't exactly have our own IT dept. So occasionally I have to deal with regular user technical issues.

Just yesterday I installed some new software on a few of the user's computers. Now today, I have to deal with our administrative manager riding my ass about how she can't scroll up and down with here track ball mouse, she can only scroll left in right, (only in Excel). And since it wasn't like that yesterday, It's my fault.

I just tell her to deal with it and that I need to do some research on it. That's about the only thing you can say to people like that until they go for lunch so you can take a look at it and fix whatever problems they created themselves. Because if I did it in froont of them I would be inclined to yell, "HEY, YOU FREAKIN IDIOT.... LOOK WHAT YOOOU DID!". But I'm nice, and I'll wait until they leave...

I was wondering how you guys deal with stupid, stubborn people. Or should I start taking some anger management classes?

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#2 skyhawk133  Icon User is offline

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Re: How do you deal with people?

Posted 19 June 2008 - 12:08 PM

Moved to the "Corner Cubicle"
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#3 no2pencil  Icon User is online

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Re: How do you deal with people?

Posted 19 June 2008 - 12:15 PM

View PostWinstinology, on 19 Jun, 2008 - 03:05 PM, said:

I'm a programmer for a small state/fed. office, It's in Alaska so we don't exactly have our own IT dept.

Even thought it's a small office, there should be some sort of a plan for training with new software. If there isn't, then I would suggest setting one up. You can't expect to roll out software & everyone start using it. Otherwise, they will come to you for the next 2 months with questions or problems. They should be properly trained, prior to it going live, & then there should be a system in place to field questions with priority.
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#4 Winstinology  Icon User is offline

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Re: How do you deal with people?

Posted 19 June 2008 - 12:22 PM

Well it's not exactly new software. It is, but it's just a different way of connecting to the state's mainframe for payroll and stuff. It's the same exact mainframe display, just a different way of getting there. And the program has nothing to do with her damn trackball.
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#5 Nykc  Icon User is offline

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Re: How do you deal with people?

Posted 19 June 2008 - 12:24 PM

Just remember these words of wisdom. People are idiots!
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#6 OliveOyl3471  Icon User is offline

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Re: How do you deal with people?

Posted 19 June 2008 - 12:52 PM

Hey Winstinology,
This was on my homepage today:
Dealing With Difficult Coworkers

:D
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#7 baavgai  Icon User is online

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Re: How do you deal with people?

Posted 19 June 2008 - 03:11 PM

First, if you're the computer guy, never even get close to anyone's compter. Don't look at it funny, don't touch it, and doing something to it is right out. If you should be forced to touch someone's computer, any hinky thing that happens in the forseeable future will be your fault. I didn't make these rules, that's just the way it seems to work.

Think of people as a challenge. They can be rather fun and if you manage to treat them nice they may actually be happy with you when the problem is resolved. Rule number one: never, ever, blame them. It's not their fault. It might be evil computer spirits or sun flares, but not them.

Strangely, people who readily admit they know nothing about computers get irrationally defensive when you even imply they might have done something. Defensive people are hard to deal with, so try to avoid it. Instead, start talking about common problems, people feel more comfortable if it happens to everyone and not just them.

This is important. You're the expert, you'll know when they screwed something hard; don't blame them! Rather, make it obvious that anything they do is perfectly reasonable and understandable. So sorry, computer developers are just thick, it's not you.

Most people who deal with computers are totally lost. The unknown is scary and this is the place from which people visit the computer guy. Your job is to make them feel they did nothing wrong, everything is perfectly normal, understandable, in control, and above all don't panic.

It's kind of a game. If your user leaves you feeling better than when they started, everyone wins.
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#8 Ambercroft  Icon User is offline

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Re: How do you deal with people?

Posted 19 June 2008 - 04:33 PM

Quote

Just yesterday I installed some new software on a few of the user's computers. Now today, I have to deal with our administrative manager riding my ass about how she can't scroll up and down with here track ball mouse, she can only scroll left in right, (only in Excel). And since it wasn't like that yesterday, It's my fault.


At least you were near the computer. I was at a school renovation in charge of the electrical work. I shut down power at one panel which affect one stairway just outside the reno area. The principal was on my case so quick I could see smoke where she stepped. Later she told me a science class room was still without lights! Hmmm not my problem but school says it is.
I ask the teacher about the problem, knows nothing. After hours I'm able to track down the panel in the class room that drives the lighting circuit. Panel is dead. Contactor that drives the panel is off. Science rooms typically have emergency shutdown for water, gas hydro. Hmm the button was not pushed at the door but the circuitry revealed that there were TWO shutdown buttons. Where o where could it be... Ah here by the teachers knee!
The principal has a huge bill, is now much nicer to me and is getting the teachers trained for 'How your class room operates.'. The principal doesn't like the idea that the teaches have the ID 10 T syndrome :)

O yeah, my point was... when people have to pay they act a little less stupid.

B)
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#9 mensahero  Icon User is offline

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Re: How do you deal with people?

Posted 19 June 2008 - 04:59 PM

I encountered something like this but in a different way. In my opinion if the End User had problems with the software or anything related to it, its the programmers fault. In my opinion the first goal is making sure it is User Friendly and I think if you improve a software that is currently in use you shouldn't just remove/replace a function; Like the scroll with mouse ball track.
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#10 josiahb  Icon User is offline

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Re: How do you deal with people?

Posted 20 June 2008 - 01:55 AM

View Postbaavgai, on 19 Jun, 2008 - 03:11 PM, said:

First, if you're the computer guy, never even get close to anyone's compter. Don't look at it funny, don't touch it, and doing something to it is right out. If you should be forced to touch someone's computer, any hinky thing that happens in the forseeable future will be your fault. I didn't make these rules, that's just the way it seems to work.

Think of people as a challenge. They can be rather fun and if you manage to treat them nice they may actually be happy with you when the problem is resolved. Rule number one: never, ever, blame them. It's not their fault. It might be evil computer spirits or sun flares, but not them.

Strangely, people who readily admit they know nothing about computers get irrationally defensive when you even imply they might have done something. Defensive people are hard to deal with, so try to avoid it. Instead, start talking about common problems, people feel more comfortable if it happens to everyone and not just them.

This is important. You're the expert, you'll know when they screwed something hard; don't blame them! Rather, make it obvious that anything they do is perfectly reasonable and understandable. So sorry, computer developers are just thick, it's not you.

Most people who deal with computers are totally lost. The unknown is scary and this is the place from which people visit the computer guy. Your job is to make them feel they did nothing wrong, everything is perfectly normal, understandable, in control, and above all don't panic.

It's kind of a game. If your user leaves you feeling better than when they started, everyone wins.


Absolutely correct and brilliant, we had a user here a little while ago whos pc would turn off unexpectedly at odd times of the day (not shut down, just power off). The answer took a fair amount of investigation to find but eventually turn out to be down to the fact that the power button on the unit was near the users mouse hand and every so often he'd knock the button and off the machine goes.

Rather than inform the user of this I blamed it on a faulty power supply and 'swapped' his box, putting the new one the other way up so that power was a long way from being accidentally knocked, problem solved, no blame assigned, no user feeling like a dumbass and I get to be a hero again :)

I deal with problems every day which I successfully blame on 'the way its designed' rather than making the users feel stupid, and then where necessary organise training later which corrects the mistakes without picking on individuals and often without any of them realising that their screw ups are the reason for the training in the first place.
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#11 tody4me  Icon User is offline

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Re: How do you deal with people?

Posted 20 June 2008 - 09:16 AM

I feel your pain. Just today I'm asked why a certain program runs slowly. It is a program that uses a SQL data store kept offsite. Basically said I Don't Know and there are many factors that could be causing the issue. The datastore is on the same server as the ERP system, and they set up the custom tables without indexing. I've told the people many times about the issues with not using indexes, but they seem to know what they're doing.

This post has been edited by tody4me: 20 June 2008 - 09:16 AM

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#12 mikeblas  Icon User is offline

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Re: How do you deal with people?

Posted 30 June 2008 - 09:29 PM

This thread makes me think that a lot of the people who have posted so far haven't had the blessing of working with people who are smarter than they are. It's humbling, and sometimes a little painful... but there's no reason to be rude or dismissive to users or customers or co-workers. If you start off with the philosophy that "people are idiots", you're probably acting like a jerk to other people who need your help.

Will that practice really help your career move ahead?
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#13 no2pencil  Icon User is online

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Re: How do you deal with people?

Posted 30 June 2008 - 10:25 PM

View Postmikeblas, on 1 Jul, 2008 - 12:29 AM, said:

If you start off with the philosophy that "people are idiots", you're probably acting like a jerk to other people who need your help.

Will that practice really help your career move ahead?


If you want to get into upper management.
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#14 captainhampton  Icon User is offline

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Re: How do you deal with people?

Posted 01 July 2008 - 08:43 AM

It's really very scary how the general public has such a hard time with big colorful buttons and fancy GUI interfaces. ::Sigh:: I guess that's why Apple is so successful with their campaign of marketing to complete morons.
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#15 Deomitrus  Icon User is offline

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Re: How do you deal with people?

Posted 06 July 2008 - 06:17 PM

I find that no matter what the case is, being professional, appearing in control, and being really polite do the job. Essentially people want to be comforted that you are indeed in charge of the situation and you're working to fix it. Otherwise, the rest is improv.
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