Published by Matt Setchell on

Unrealistic expectations from users is a common theme of tickets and conversations in any IT support team. Our users, as consumers do, demand that products work to their exact specifications.

Unfortunately, the world of IT isn’t like that – it is often ‘best fit’ solutions that are in place. As much as it surprises some members of staff, we cannot command developers to include our specific wants in SIMs, or Windows, or Office.

These demands to get it working how users expect it, or to fix an issue that has no fix get bigger as IT systems are used more. Because of the impact our support and development has had at the schools we manage – IT is critical to their day to day function, and complaints are louder and more complex then ever before.

When networks are just left to ‘run’ the wants and expectations from staff die out with any enthusiasm they had for using IT.

So, in effect, these unrealistic expectations are proof you are doing your job right. Managing them is a key tool in continuing your networks development. Don’t just say ‘no’- offer alternatives – but don’t shy away from ensuring staff have an understanding of how software development works that they understand how unrealistic their demands and expectations of you are. No doubt, you will share their frustrations – make sure they know this too.

I always point staff to the fact that we never stop evaluating, to ensure we learn when things do go wrong. They go wrong for many different reasons, and staff need to know what these are. So when things go wrong (like internet outages) make sure you inform them of the reasons (even if it is you) – if users understand this more and more, it makes dealing with outages and issues so much easier.

For instance, our new deployment of tablets hasn’t defaulted to the existing iPads, iPads were the wrong choice. So when we get the demands (like today) to rewrite iOS to actually be Windows, we can point out that we have let someone else do it, and just bought windows tablets.

On the flip side, don’t expect people to care or want to understand too much. They are not you, and they will come back to the fact, it’s your job to get their IT working.