So what challenges do IT professionals face and how can they overcome them? Overcoming communication barriers, staying organized, working in teams and making the most of meetings are the biggest challenges I have found in my experience in the IT field. Communication between departments is often sorely lacking. Demands from a variety of users with different levels of expertise and different expectations may hamper your productivity and ability to stay organized. Endless meetings and fruitless attempts at collaboration can make accomplishing goals a challenge. Personally, I have found that using whiteboards can be a solution to all of these barriers.
- Overcoming communication barriers
- Collaborating and working in teams
- Making meetings count
When you’re communicating with workers in other departments, try to avoid jargon; remember that you’re talking to a person with potentially very little tech knowledge. Practice active listening before responding to make the other person feel that you’re really hearing their concern. Understand that your viewpoint and goals may be different, which is where a whiteboard comes into play. Showing your objectives visually can improve communication barriers drastically because you eliminate technology jargon and present your goals for everyone to understand. Having a project tracker is a great visual tool for not only organizing and scheduling, but also communicating where each team member stands on his or current task. This is a great method for making sure that all employees are on the same page as they progress through different stages of a project.
Teamwork is an expected component of corporate life these days; you’re judged not just on your technical knowledge but also on how well you can work with colleagues, superiors and clients. The barrier can be broken down if team members are collaborating with a whiteboard. It gives everyone the opportunity to chime in and give their opinion on the objective of the project or meeting you’re having.
Meetings are the bane of existence for most professionals and often more so when the topic is technical. If you’re running the meeting, send an agenda to participants in advance. Schedule a time limit, and adhere to it. Sometimes writing a singular word to represent the theme or purpose of the meeting on a whiteboard can go a long way in keeping meetings on task and on schedule. Make sure that all participants have the opportunity to be heard, and shut anyone down who monopolizes the conversation.
For a more productive collaboration, consider using a whiteboard. In my experience, even reticent team members tend to speak up when a whiteboard is present, as it signals a collaborative environment where the important thing is capturing the information with no judgment. For long meetings, rotate the individual designated to write on the board to keep everyone involved in both speaking and recording the information.
Despite the challenges, IT professionals serve a critical purpose within organizations. By adding a whiteboard into your department, it can easily improve communication, eliminate barriers to productivity, make collaboration more effective and constructive meetings more meaningful. With a whiteboard solution, it can keep IT departments functioning smoothly and provide continued value to their companies.
This post has been written by Adam L., IT Manager in Research Triangle Park with collaboration from Tom Shaw.