When your team is operating like a finely-tuned machine, with little intervention on your part, you’re positioned for growth. Your leadership team – from the CEO down to the senior techs – have more time to focus on growth activities when the rest of the team is running itself. But it’s easier to say than to do, so let’s go over a few pointers on how to get your team to a point where they self-serve.
Structured, Centralized Documentation
We’re going to start with the basics here, and that’s making sure that information is written down where everybody can access it. When you increase the size of your business and the automation of documentation, you’ll create vast amounts of information. It’s easy to lose track of it. So make sure you’re using one system for documentation only. If someone says “oh, yeah, you can just do some Sharepoint, and wikis and Excel and stuff and it’s the same as IT Glue but costs less”, that somebody is wrong. It’s not the same. Your team will sit there wondering which information is in which place. Then they’ll want to know which version of that information is the most up-to-date. You need a single source of truth. Even if you’re a one-man shop, you’re subject to the Forgetting Curve. Make your life, and the lives of your techs, easier by getting all the information you need in one place where instead of remembering massive amounts of information you only need to remember the steps to access that information.
This single source of truth needs to be structured. Structure is what allows your team to click through a workflow, from one configuration to a password to a process doc, to ticket archives and more. Those relationships between items are the key to an efficient workflow. You don’t get that with documentation sprawled across multiple apps, and you don’t get that with immature documentation systems, either. Don’t be deluded into thinking that saving a few bucks on the price of documentation is actually saving you money, unless of course you’re not paying your techs. You pay them? Then make them as efficient as possible.
No Squirrels Allowed
It’s unfortunate that in many companies, IT techs like to squirrel away information for themselves. The thinking is that if they are the only person who knows something, then they are more valuable. And this attitude can be deeply ingrained by years of habit.
It is critical that this mentality is eliminated from your organization. That means you need to incentivize documentation, and create a culture among your techs that squirreling information is not acceptable, and will not be tolerated. Culture change isn’t easy. For culture change to stick it has to be supported throughout the organization from top to bottom, championed at every level, and incentivized to create the motivation to change in the first place.
Squirrels in the park are cute. Squirrels in your company are toxic. You need to create the norm that only team players are valued, and ensuring every tech is powerful is part of that.
Self-service doesn’t mean eliminating the need for training. But it does change the type of training you need to do. The old way is having a senior tech sit down with new hires for weeks on end, holding their hand every step of the way, taking months for the new hire to get anywhere near functional. The new way is having a senior tech show the new hire where information lives, how you’ve designed it, and how to use it as part of their workflows. This should take a lot less time, and substantially less hand-holding. Work with your top people to design training programs that show your new hires how to self-serve right away, so that it becomes automatic.
Learn the mantra: “Have you checked in IT Glue?” and repeat it often.
It’s not necessarily easy to get people to change, but the entire point of having powerful software is to change how you do things. Thousands of MSPs have undergone this exact transformation, and are enjoying superior performance despite an increasingly competitive market. That’s where you need to be, too, and developing a team that can self-serve, with confidence, is a critical step.
IT Glue’s award-winning documentation platform allows for efficient storage and retrieval of all the documentation a managed service provider needs to increase efficiency and streamline operations. Watch a demo today!