Tech Team Builds a Ticketing System
Mountain Connection, April 11, 2022
The IT Explorations class “Tech Team” students got to see this year what it was like to build and support a technology Help Desk for a school. They have also been studying Agile Development and how it’s used in many companies to create efficient and happy teams. For students Mira Kearns ’22, Eliana Brown ’22, Mustafa Suleymanov ’24, Ben Hoeffel ’24, Josie Angel ’22, Nate Montgomery ’24, and Peri O’Connell ’22 it’s not quite what they were expecting in computer class.
Agile is a really cool way to run projects and meetings, (called SCRUMS). Teacher, Trenia Sanford, has been introducing this to companies in all industries in the past few years because of “how quickly it makes teams functional.” The meeting participants all stand and each person covers the following items in less than two minutes:
What I’m working on
Where I’m blocked or need help
What I completed
What I’ll work on next
A piece of good news or note of appreciation (a Positive Psychology piece)
The meetings are short but the information flow is huge. At the end of 20 or so minutes, everyone knows everything that’s going on and who might need help. No time is wasted. The positive piece is essential – everyone feels connected and essential. Because they are. This is how some big technology companies manage huge teams and short timeline projects. “It beats out top heavy hierarchies in all kinds of ways”, Trenia said. “People are so much more motivated and creative.”
Tech Team project management starts with a request from a “client”, (teacher, staff, or student). Projects or “tickets” are assigned to a tech team member and they go to work. It’s really tricky solving technology problems when you might not know how to start. “The key,” said teacher Trenia Sanford, “is to just go for it and rely on your skills learned thus far, your own research and your team to help you need help. We covered the basics of networking, and computer trouble-shooting. Learning to communicate with clients and each other is key.
Students might be installing network equipment or monitoring it, troubleshooting projectors, installing new sound and switching equipment in the theater or working on user laptops. Variety is never a problem!
They suffered through a manual process of tracking requests, reporting their steps and turning in their “paper tickets”. Which seems sort of old fashioned but it taught them what they needed to know to help pick out a Help Desk ticket application for the school. Solving issues is one problem, tracking it is just as challenging. Each student researched and presented their top 3 apps (free or very affordable) to the class. They spent the next week tailoring the winning app (Trello) using what they had learned during the year practicing Agile Project Management.
Trenia explained, “Now we’re using it and it’s so much easier to see everything in one place, and it’s fun to drag a ticket to the “Completed” column. Teachers and staff are getting responses to their requests faster. Trenia summed it up. “ There’s nothing like a positive real world experience where you feel appreciated to make you walk tall and feel …. Happy.” Statistics show happy teams are more efficient, more creative, stay longer at their jobs and members and companies are much healthier in all ways. This is the Positive Psychology piece of the process.
“There are a lot of broken companies and teams out in the world,” Trenia said. “People don’t often know how to collaborate successfully. These under 18-year olds already know how to do it in a really successful, unique way. And the happiness part of it is really important to success.” How often can you say that?
Thanks, Tech Team!!