If you’re not a programmer yourself, or work in an office where you deal with an IT department, there are a few things to keep in mind when getting help from these guys.
Don’t Demand Anything – Unless Fred reports directly to you, you’re not going to get anywhere if you crash into his Star-Wars-laden cubicle with guns drawn. The second you start getting pushy with old Fred, the second he’ll “suddenly realize” that your problem is going to take 2-3 days to resolve. So, in short, be nice to Fred and let him steer the conversation. After all, he knows how the system works and you need his help – if anything, bring an extra Mountain Dew along with you to help grease the wheels.
Don’t Expect to be Coddled – Fred probably isn’t going to hold your hand. He’ll either fix the problem for you or give you some possible fixes that you should try out first. If he goes for the latter, your best bet here is to write it down. There’s nothing that will annoy him more than you coming back 2 minutes later asking “What was I supposed to click again?”. If it’s a multi-step solution, jotting it down will further ensure you execute it correct (and you’re likely to impress Fred in the process). If you can’t follow instructions, expect resolution of your problem to come much slower than if you had. That actually segues nicely into the final point.
They Like it when You Listen – Fred isn’t a magician. In fact, a good programmer is one of the most logical, analytical people you’re likely to come across outside of NASA. So, while many of the details of his work may be Greek to you, his solution (and likely his explanation) are probably pretty logical.
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