Monday, November 24, 2008

Working With IT

It seems universal for e-learning staff - working with IT is a challenge. It certainly has been for me at the organizations I have worked. I do want to note that my current IT department has very talented and supportive staff. However, as with most IT departments, they are in big demand and dedicating the resources that are asked of them is challenging. That said, there are things we can do to create a more productive partnership with our IT brethren.

Know Who does What - Get to know the people in IT, each person's responsiblities and their specific expertise. When bringing IT in on a project you want to be sure you have brought in the right people, or are asking the person who can most effectively assist you.

Engage IT Staff- Do not try to just delegate tasks to IT. Just as instructional designers do not want training needs dictated to them, but want to very involved in identifying training needs, IT needs context and involvement to be successful. When you share the details of the project and its goals, they can more effectively prioritize their tasks, find solutions or alternative approaches, recognize the impact on your organization and/or customer, and provide insight not recognized by the project's core team.

Know Their Schedule and Workload - As best you can, know what projects they are already busy with and how your project may fit in with their schedule. If you must ask for unrealistic time lines, at least be cognisant of it and more than likely a reasonable compromise can be made. They will also appreciate that you understand the demands made upon their department and the investment required to assist you. Appreciation can go a long way and may even increase the effort they put into your project.

All in all, bring IT in just as you would want your own staff brought into a project, as experts and valuable consultants.


  1. hi Jeff,

    This is a great post. I work in close contact with the IT department, and your strategy is great for increasing communication between all departments and IT. Never thought of this as a strategic and communicative approach. Thanks!


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