Structuring Technical Staff
All staff supporting mission-critical systems within the infrastructure support and development organization should be structured in the same manner, with three levels of supportjunior technicians (second-level support personnel) working very closely with senior technicians (third-level support staff) and reporting into the same management. This structure provides certain benefits:
Accelerated skills development for second-level or junior technical personnel.
Clearly defined career path for lower-level technical personnel.
Improved communication between second-level and third-level support as they work together on implementing projects and production support issues.
Projects and support issues are discussed in the same staff meetings.
Second-and third-level technical service personnel have the same group goals and objectives.
Improved turnaround for problem resolution.
Senior staff is freed to provide analysis of new technologies and fully implement and customize systems management tools.
Time is freed for senior technical staff to architect the proper infrastructure.
Second-level technical personnel assist senior staff with implementing and maintaining systems management tools.
Second-level personnel should not be designated "support only." They need to be working on projects with senior technicians.
Second-level and third-level technical staff should also be physically located in the same area. They should have coffee breaks together and attending technical service group outings. There cannot be any organizational barriers.
Network computing requires cross-functional teams for the technology to be successful. The real question is how to get the separate technical areas to work together and share knowledge. This is a cultural issue and is truly different for each organization. These are the steps involved:
Unify the management team. This is not a difficult task. Gather them all in the same room, talk about the project, and discuss the value it will have to the organization. Continue this type of meeting to ensure that the importance of the project stays fresh in their minds.
Clearly define the technical roles and responsibilities for each team member.
Define the method of measurement and reward for each team member as it relates to the project.
Teach your employees that sharing skills and knowledge is good and will be rewarded.
Make sure that each employee is not assigned to multiple activities on the same day. Don't multitask your employees! It's bad for the project.
Once you have planned all this out, use cross-functional teams everywhere you can. They really work!