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Navigating the problem without a box…

March 11, 2014

SchoolWorld, which  I think  is now bought by Blackboard, is a CMS.  We purchase this service on behalf of many of our 25 school districts that we support.  Sometimes, the lines are clear and I can discern which end is up.  What I mean is its easy when the problem, or need, or request is in a nice little box.

Here James, so and so needs this done on their site, or something like that“.

Nice and clear and in a box.

Other times, their is no box, only shades of grey…

Many times in business and in life, there are no clearly defined borders around a situation or problem.  When the problem or request comes to you, you must discern key things about the problem.  Like,

  1. who is the customer,
  2. what is the source of the problem,
  3. how did the problem come into our que.

An example

One of our districts goes directly to our vendor, Schoolworld and purchases a service, like a web site, for example.  They use this web site for many years, then the person who maintained the content retires or leaves.  One of our tech guys is over to their campus working on some other stuff, unrelated to the schoolworld web site, when someone at the district says “hey, George, we have website that is outdated, could you guys help with that?”  George brings that request back to my boss who says, James, follow up with George on that.

So there you have it.  A need, without a box.  Its one of those oh, BTW, ….. situations.  So now, I need to figure out a few things, such as

  1. do they have their own schoolworld instance?
  2. do they want to keep their instance?
  3. are there others at their site who could maintain content
  4. what content is still needed

In general, a needs assessment of who, what  and where.

Technically, this wont be a huge challenge.  The challenge lies in navigating the morass of unknown.  Using tact, being a problem solver, not a barrier.  Gently engaging people and helping them come along on their own.  Listening, a lot, so I can UNDERSTAND WHAT THEY NEED, and then recommending a solution.

More to follow.

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