Unhelp desk

Author's Note: This is another entry in my "from the archives" series.  I've decided it's time to clear some of those out of my queue.  This was an unfinished stub entry I last edited on April 20, 2007, when I was still working in county government.  I actually still have some recollection of the incident that inspired this entry, nearly seven years later.  There wasn't much to the original entry itself (as I said, it was kind of a stub), so this post will feature some commentary on my own comments.  Yeah, I could try to actually finish the post, but I only vaguely recall what my original point was and I'd rather make a different one now.

Question: what is the purpose of having a "help desk" when all they do is forward support requests to the programmers and analysts? Isn't that the opposite of help?

I admit that's not entirely fair. Our help desk does all sorts of things and often solves small problems on their own. So it's not like they're just a switchboard.

It just annoys me when they pass on a request without even trying to get any more details. For instance, when they get e-mail requests and just copy and paste the body of the e-mail into our help desk software. Then they print out the ticket on a sheet of blue paper and lay it on the desk of the programmer or analyst who last worked with the department or system in question.  There's no indication that they even asked the user any questions.  It seems like I'd be just as well off is the user just e-mailed me directly.  At least we wouldn't be killing trees that way.

Commentary: I don't even really remember what the partiuclar issue that prompted this was anymore.  I just remember coming back to my desk one day, seeing a blue print out of a help desk ticket, and realizing from what it contained that the "help" desk had done no analysis or trouble-shooting on it whatsoever.

This was one of those moments that was a combination of anger and shaking my head in resignation.  I had a lot of those in 2007.  I guess it was just part of the realization that government IT just wasn't for me.  In fact, it was that August that I took the job with eBaum's World  and moved into full-time development, which is really what I wanted to be doing all along.  So really, it all worked out in the end.

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