Thursday, 27 November 2014

Out and about #csguk2014 #altc #sconul2014

During the last couple of weeks I have been at various conferences and events.  I enjoy attending events especially if they are one day. I'm not so keen on half days nor two/three day events as it is either too short to get involved or too long so an overload of information and networking.  But a whole day, in a good venue with nice refreshments and lunch and lots of interesting people presenting, is very appealing.  As well as finding out and learning about stuff, it's good to have an external reference point to place what you are doing in context.  It helps keep everything in perspective and frames developments.  For me, it is beneficial to talk to external people to share experiences and ask opinions.  It's equally important to have a 'safe' work place to come back to and a place that you can feel confident working in and share what you have learnt.

I attended the
Customer Services Group UK Conference #csguk2014

SCONUL Winter Conference 2014 #sconul2014

I also attended the Association for Learning Technology Trustees meeting in London at the Institute of Education.  I have been a trustee of ALT for the last four years and was on the FE Committee before that.  It is a great experience and has given me knowledge not just of learning technologies but also about policy and about committees.  It has given me the opportunity to meet and work with a variety of interesting and effective people.  

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Reviews and staffing

A couple of weeks ago we had an Academic-Related Review of Information Services.  It involved a panel made up of external and internal people who interviewed students, academic staff and staff within the directorate about the services that we provide.  It went well, I think although we have not had the report yet so will wait and see.  A review is quite good really as it encourages you to focus on what you do and why and what the impact of the service is.
Last week I was 'out of the office' for a few days so am catching up this week especially as I'm out again Thursday and Friday.  More staffing and recruitment matters to sort out - requesting permission to recruit for an Information Assistant and changing hours and shifts for Library Assistants.
Trying to find a solution that everyone is happy with for chairs at the Library Service Desk - the problem is that they have to be suitable for a wide variety of staff to work at the desk and this means a variety of choices....  Meeting about support that we provide for the MFDs.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Tuesday - meetings, lost property and engineer visit.

This morning was the Academic and Learner Services meeting. It is a monthly meeting for staff in the Customer Services Team and in the Liaison Team. It is a summary of what is going on operationally and developments that are coming up. It's a good opportunity to keep up to date with what other colleagues are doing and to add a bit of detail to what we are doing in our team.
This afternoon had a meetng with Head of Security about lost property. We need to improve our procedures so that things don't get mislaid especially during hand over times especially as we have so many different teams and staff members. Anyhow he seems ok with my plan so we can start using that from next week.
A good thing that happened this afternoon was that the engineer from Bibliotheca came to mend one of our self service book kiosks. It had stopped reading the RFID tags so he replaced the reader inside the machine.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Monday - statistics and staff shortages

Mondays in November usually means that there is going to be a shortage somewhere. One of the admin assistants is off which means no lunch cover for telephonist so we have to cover from customer services. Actually it worked out ok as I volunteered and it was quiet so had an hour away from the hurly burly (and the steady stream of people coming to my office to ask me about stuff) and got quite a bit done. Plus read some articles about sustainable libraries.
This morning, collated stats - IT Helpdesk enquiries and Library enquiries.
Had a catch up meeting with my line manager and another colleague.
This afternoon, emails and weeding lists. Also trying to set up the online room booking system.
We had a last minute staff shortage this evening too....tomorrow's another day

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Semester 1 Week 4 The 'busier' perception

Week 4 already and the Semester is well underway.  The most noticeable aspect of this semester so far is that it feels busier - it seems like there are more students in the library and as if we have had more IT help enquiries.  But does it feel like that each year? Staff at universities and colleges often state in September that 'We're really busy' as if it's a surprise that thousands of students have if by magic.
So looking at the footfall statistics into the library - Mondays are the day of greatest footfall, this year figures are much the same.  Tuesdays, however, are busier with the footfall comparable to Monday with 2400+ entries to the library. Tuesday is the new Monday, we have two very busy days a week. Footfall for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday have also increased, Saturday has remained the same and Sunday has increased.  We have an approximately 25% increase in the number of students using the library on a Sunday.
There are two other factors to take into account - we're are open 24/7 all semester and while the night times are not busy yet, evenings are and I think that the perception that the library is always there and open encourages students to 'drop by' and anytime.  The other factor is that occupancy figures are higher so that people accessing the library are staying longer.  We don't have completely accurate figures for occupancy as we rely on headcounts and some gate figures but we're concentrating on improving this measure.  The problem on a practical level, as everyone knows, when you're very busy it's difficult to collect statistics but those are the times you need them most.
The 'busier' perception is backed up by anecdotal evidence from the Students Union that last years and this years new UGs are more work focused and committed to study throughout the year.
The IT help enquiries have been comparable to last year although the difference seems to be that students want help immediately and in a face-to-face environment.  The usual categories of enquiries have been popular e.g. passwords, wifi/eduroam, emails and of course, printing.  The other difference is that students have their own devices and they want to be able to connect straight away via these devices to university systems and resources. We are seeing a greater variety of devices and different levels of skills in using them.
I think the greatest operational challenge in providing Information Services support is having the skills and knowledge to provide help to a student no matter what device they may have and no matter what level of digital literacy they possess.  The strategic challenge is in providing the learning environment and space, physical and virtual, for this to happen.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Semester 1 Week 1

Semester 1 Week 1 achieved successfully.
The alterations and improvements to the library space were finished on time albeit it last minute. The new group study pods are proving popular and we haven't had anyone eating or sleeping in them so far.
The new Service Desk is operating well so far although staff need time to get used to it and we need to review our work flows and processes to match the new set up. The chairs for staff at the Service Desk need changing as they don't have foot rests and don't lift up high enough. Also we need more storage but seeing as it was a major change, it's ok. We've also changed the room booking system which is work in progress - operational though which I'm pleased about.
We've been busy with IT enquiries - mainly account details, passwords, email set up and wifi/eduroam connections. There was an issue with some of the account set ups and this caused problems at the IT Helpdesk as quite a few accounts had to be set up manually - this seems to be solved now.
The printers, as ever, are temperamental - when they work they are great but MFDs do have a tendency to have intermittent, inexplicable faults along with the usual paper jams.
All in all it has been a good week and I like it when it is busy and we are responding to students queries and issues and most importantly, resolving them. Our success rate, despite any unavoidable beginning of term hiccups, is good.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Up-skilling and cross-skilling - staff training

Up-skilling and cross-skilling 
The strategic aim is something along the lines of ensuring that all of the customer services team are cross skilled, can be co-located and record all issues and enquiries. Therefore the overarching plan is that all of the library assistants (daytime, weekend, evening), information assistants and IT Helpdesk staff would be able to work anywhere on the integrated service desk. A member of the Customer Services Team would be able to provide a front line, first line service wherever and whenever they are based.
So, how is this going to work in practice and how are we going to get there. In the Customer Services Team there are approximately 35 staff who were, in the past, either Library or IT staff apart from the information Assistants. The Information Assistants posts were new last September and to some extent bridge the gap but at a lower level. Many of the staff are skilled and have in-depth experience. The important thing, from my point of view, is that we don't lose that knowledge but that we keep it, ensure it is relevant, develop it and add to it. As the saying goes- we don't want to lose specialisms, but want to add generalisms.
All of this is fairly standard for university libraries especially in those integrated and converged with IT services.  Much of the change is driven by the demands and needs of the users. Students and staff, in general, want one place to go for help. If they visit the library, physically or virtually, they want assistance in accessing resources online and on the shelves.  They want to be able to access information on their own devices as well as the institution owned machines, they want to connect to systems and to wifi 24/7.
In general library assistants do want to increase their knowledge of IT systems and the distinction is sometimes a false one. When you work on a service desk on a library, you are using IT the majority of the time so it is a matter of formalising some of this, filling in the gaps and often increasing confidence. One difference is that IT staff work along the lines of giving something a go and if it doesn't work, try something else - technology is like that, trial and error or finding an alternative means of getting what you want done. In the past library systems were exact, if you do A you get B, a specified method of doing something.
Some of the training happens naturally between staff - if you have an integrated service desk with library and IT staff based there, then you share skills and pick up bits and pieces as you go along. This is useful but not enough as it doesn't ensure that everyone has the same skills base. Also it is dependent on a particular issue cropping up and being solved so that the incident can be shared.
Documentation, help sheets, guides, staff manuals are essential - you need somewhere to refer to when you are asked an enquiry or have to solve an issue. It is also important to have consistency so that everyone is providing the same service.
Structured training sessions are important and we are running a series of these over the summer. They include a session delivered by Subject Librarians which focuses on  Enquiries, the Website, Books and Journals, Discovery and Copyright - the latest developments in each of these areas. This session is repeated four times between June and September.
 There are three other sessions:
1. Printing / MFDs, Wifi-Eduroam, Word, Outlook, Google form / statistics
2. 'Getting Started' webpages, Vision (Blackboard), SharePoint, Kayako (ITHelpdesk system)
3. Service Desk changes, Staff manual and procedures, Voyager, Printing /MFDs
These sessions are delivered by the Helpdesk co-ordinator, the Service Desk supervisor or me.  At the end of each session we have a Customer Services team update.
We hold the sessions at different times and encourage semester only staff to attend (they get paid to do so). The sessions include practical elements so staff get experience of different systems and programmes. There are copies of the presentations or notes from the sessions available for those that can't attend and these reflect the information on the staff and service manual.

So far, so good. The sessions have been well attended and have meant we have a baseline of what should be common knowledge. If everyone knows what is covered in these sessions then we can build on that. Library staff and IT staff need to share each others skills base. We weren't starting from staff without knowledge or skills but it was difficult to know who knew what and how this could be quantified. We can add to the programme as new developments happen and build a cross-skilled, technology enhanced, knowledge base to provide an effective customer service.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Changes and developments to the library space HWU

During the summer we are having changes made to the library space to increase the number of group study spaces available for students.  The current group study room has been extended by knocking a wall through into a meeting room.  The whole room is being revamped with new ceiling and floor, repainted walls and new furniture and fittings.  There will be five group study tables with six seats with integrated plasma screens.  There will also be two six seater study booths with plasma screens.
In order to make space for the group study tables and booths we are replacing the Service Desk.  The old desk had been in place since the 70s and although acceptable and functional, had a large footprint.  We are getting a new Service Desk and it is going to be located nearer the entrance and stairs to provide good visibility.  
So far the building work is going well and we are on schedule I think - next week should see the arrival of the new furniture so I'm looking forward to seeing the new Service Desk. Then will be the challenge of becoming operational from the new desk and we have already been discussing in our team how workflows and processes are going to work.
The other improvement that is being made is to the individual study rooms - the flooring has been replaced and they are currently being painted  It is definitely an improvement and the rooms are in high demand.

More information is available on our Information Services blog which I've been posting updates to

HWU IS library improvements July
HWU IS library improvements August

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Summer To Do List

It may be quieter as far as students are concerned but there is a lot going on behind the scenes at the moment. There are routine tasks, administrative and planning for next semester. There are also more complex tasks - changes to the learning environment and the introduction of new 'things'.
The list includes:
New Group Study areas - we are changing the layout and configuration of the main floor of the library to create more fit for purpose group study areas. There is a demand from students for us to provide more group study and collaboration facilities so that is what we are doing. The existing group study table room is being refurbished and extended and some new furniture is being installed.
New Library Service Desk - hopefully we are getting a new library service desk. This will be situated in a more useful space in the library with sight of the entrance and the doors to the stairs. It will also be nearer to the self service machines so that most of the book circulation can be directed there leaving the library staff to deal with more complicated issues and enquiries. We will probably have to move to a temporary location for a few weeks so we are planning this too.
Printing - we have recently moved from push printing to pull printing / print release on our MFDs. This is going well and we will be concentrating on making sure that staff are trained to help new students and that the posters / communications are good regarding the change.
Telephony - the telephone switchboard is part of customer services and we are changing the physical location of the equipment although the service will continue uninterrupted.
Weeding and stock relegation - the customer services team are helping out the resources team by doing some weeding of old or unused books and journals.
Staff and service manuals - we are updating these with additions and changes to processes and procedures. We've produced quite a few help sheets for the common issues to the IT Helpdesk including setting up phones and laptops, email on mobile devices etc.
Staff training - I've been organising staff training for all the customer services team. There are going to be a number of sessions, some delivered within the team and some from other staff within Information Services such as Subject Librarians. We're going to cover enquiries, searching, databases, the VLE, SharePoint, google forms, wifi/ eduroam, printers etc. The sessions will be available for daytime and evening/weekend/semester only staff.
Individual Study rooms - we have about 21 individual study rooms which are in high demand but currently are booked on a first come first served basis on a morning and can be kept for the day. We have had some comments from students that they think this is a bit inconvenient sometimes especially as students tend to 'baggsy' them and leave stuff there and disappear to lectures. So we are considering a different, fairer booking system.
Other items on the list include:
Reviewing fines policy
Statistics - collecting and collating and presenting in a useful format
Social Media Development Group
Service Improvement Group
Messaging noise alert facility
Text enquiry service

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Selecting a seat in a library...

In the corridor, next to the rear entrance to the library at Heriot-Watt Uni, is a birds nest, a swallows nest.  The corridor is open at one end and leads out into the gardens.  The swallows come here each year to nest in the same place on top of a narrow sign next to fire alarm which rings loudly at least once a week when tested.  Students and staff pass by to come into the library although it's not the main entrance.

A couple of metres away from this seemingly cramped and noisy corner are acres of beautiful trees and places to nest which would be relatively quiet and undisturbed.  Yet the swallows choose the corridor and successfully have chicks which thrive and fly away.

This made me wonder if there were any comparisons with the sort of spaces that are chosen by students to study.  I'm not suggesting that they should perch in inhospitable places but there is an element of self selecting and it's not always possible to predict which spots suit which students.
We have recently done a quick survey asking students what spaces they want in the library and the demand was equal for group study space and individual space, equal for silent space and for discussion space.  Also interestingly, the same students wanted each of these kinds of spaces at different times.  
The library here is very busy and is vibrant and dynamic (in other words it does get noisy).  We don't really have enough space yet students find the space that they need and continue to study in the library.  The silent floors are usually silent and we get very few complaints or comments about noise levels on these floors.  The entrance floor is noisy yet some students choose to work in that environment doing individual work and carry on quite happily.  The top floor which has PCs, printers, study spaces and books and journals is an eclectic mix that ebbs and flows through the semester. 
We do monitor the learning space to ensure that students adhere to the noise zone requirements and eat food and drink in the appropriate places. We do monitor the study tables and remind students not to leave items unattended and not to reserve seats (empty nests?). But we try to be flexible and respond to the needs and demands of students. 
The challenge is to provide a variety of study spaces and learning spaces so that students have a choice and can find a place that suits their needs when they need it. 

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Nearly there.....the last week

This week is the last week of semester 2, the last week of teaching, the last week of exams.  It's the last week of 24/7 opening of the Library and the last week of work for evening and weekend staff.  
It's a good week for finishing off and for slowing down ever so slightly and standing back for a minute.  It's a good week for being pleased that we have completed a whole academic year and the Library and IT services have provided an excellent service to thousands of students and staff.
Next week will be the hard work of finishing off, completing tasks, collating statistics and writing reports - explaining and describing what we have done and assessing our successes.
Then the planning begins, what do we need to do to improve the service we provide?  Reviewing what we have done and deciding what we are going to change.  It's exciting and interesting to plan ahead but just for this week it's good to make the most of the time, to make sure that students are helped and supported through to the last day and enjoy the moment (and the view).

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Managing a 24/7 team and service

The Customer Services Team that I manage consists of daytime staff, evening staff and weekend staff some of whom are full-time and some are part-time, some are semester only and some all year round.  There are lots of them and obviously they are never all here at the same time.  In fact it is a feat of logistics to cover the service with so many variables.
This is not an unusual situation for libraries that are open evenings and weekends in an educational environment - more staffing and coverage is needed during term time as opposed to vacation time - I'm not sure how much it has changed over the years but I suspect not much.  However as well as it being a result of historical arrangements, it is also very much a modern phenomenon.  While we don't have any zero hours contracts we do have posts that are split to cover the hours when we need staff resource (Information Assistants).  We are also open 24/7 during revision and exam time which is a response to student demand.
All in all there are approximately 35 members of staff in the Customer Services Team.  The challenge is to provide a consistent service across the working teams and across the time frame.

Currently, as we are open 24/7, there are certain points in the day which are handover times and it is essential that this happens smoothly and effectively - and for the most part it does.  There are certain people who are key to the process i.e. the Service Desk Supervisor, the Evening Assistant Librarians and it is also helped by the fact that most of the daytime Library Assistants are experienced and have been in post quite a long time.  The Evening Assistant Librarians overlap by an hour with the Service Desk Supervisor, the 24/7 security staff overlap slightly with the Evening/Weekend staff to hand over late evening.  The next morning the 24/7 security staff hand over to the daytime Library Assistants and so it continues.

The challenges arise when there is either something new or something that needs to change.  When I first started in my role, one of my first thoughts was 'Who are all these people?' 'Why do they all work different hours and different days?' - none of it seemed consistent and in fact it wasn't.  I had to create a spreadsheet to get an overview of what people do and as new people have been appointed, we have tried to match roles up with current ones while at the same time trying to update roles to match service need.  A lot of the reasons for peoples hours are historical and based on need at the time and this will be reviewed.  Although the aim is to provide a consistent service, the environment and demand is different on evenings and weekends than it is during day time hours so there has to be flexibility and the capacity to change.

Communication, as ever, is one of the greatest issues.  On a practical basis, I had to consider how I was going to actually meet all the people in my team.  I would have to work daytime, evening and weekends......and although I like my job, that wasn't one of my aims.  In general I work 9.00 or 9.30 - 18.00 as this covers the 16.00 - 18.00 slot when daytime staff finish and evening staff start.  Luckily some of the weekend staff work evenings as well so I get to see them.  I rarely work weekends but have done so two or three times and so have met the weekend only staff.  But how would it work if I was to meet up with all staff every week - it would be impossible and impractical on both sides?  Obviously that is what the Service Desk Supervisor and Evening Assistant Librarians are for - to line mange the  different sub teams and pass information up and down and I meet with them regularly.
However I do want contact with all of the staff.  We have introduced team meetings and these happen on a rolling basis.  One morning a week between 9.15 - 9.45 and repeated 9.45 - 10.15 (it has to run twice as the service desk has to be covered) and one evening a week working through the different days (a Monday one week, Tuesday the next etc.) . This should mean that everyone gets to attend a team meeting twice a month or at least once a month.  I keep notes from the meeting and circulate them regularly adding new bits from each meeting if needed.  I upload them to our Intranet site also.
I do use email quite a lot to communicate with the team as a whole and parts of the team - I try to filter it appropriately but also rely on them filtering what they don't need.  I also email the Library Service Desk account so that anyone can pick up emails from there.  It's not possible to get everyone in the same physical location at the same time but it is possible to have a team communication channel.

I am learning that with a large team it is not possible nor preferable to know everything that is going on although I often get situations when I think either 'Why did no-one tell me that' or 'I really don't need to know every detail of this'.  Some staff want to interact more, some hardly ever.  I always have an open door and try to spend time just chatting and engaging with people and picking up on the general vibe of what's happening.

Monday, 31 March 2014

To Do List March 31st

I rarely have a written To Do list as I usually keep a mental note of what needs doing and work through it - if things are urgent then they will be imprinted on my mental to do list so unforgettable and usually someone is sending reminders, if not so important then I will know that they need doing as soon as I get time and if they drop off the list then they can't have been that important.  Sometimes I do make a list and like it be very neat and organised but it's not good use of my time and I tend to get side tracked putting the items in order and categorizing and prioritizing them - in other word procrastinating and prevaricating.
But sometimes when I'm extra busy, on the verge of being slightly manic, I do make a list. This morning I made a list.  It has 19 'must do' items and 9 'do when I can' items.  So far I've only done 7 but they are the worst and most urgent ones and it is a list for the next few days not just today.
I've finished PDRs, sorted out some details for interviews on Thursday, checked the staff survey and downloaded some results to analyse, liaised with Organisational Development about PSE training, sorted out details for a student survey regarding individual study rooms, changed Team meetings for next 2 weeks and organised individual meetings where needed.  There have also been quite a few impromptu tasks and day to day tasks - problems with the lift, dealt with an external visitor, talked to our intern, collated stats for opening hours in July / August etc.
Other items for the next few days are to liaise with HR about some issues staff have raised, collect feedback from visits to other libraries, distribute notes and actions from meetings, reply to comments and suggestions from students, more to do with staff survey, catch up on progress re weeding, check floor plans and noise levels are right for 24/7 opening and exam time, organise the social media service development group, write up notes from my mentoring session, look at induction materials for new staff, etc. etc. and emails and meetings of course......

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

RFID Smartstock device and searching, weeding and inventory

An exciting day today as the engineer from Bibliotheca came to set up the Smartstock device and fix a few other minor issues and it was a very successful day. The Smartstock device is a handheld scanner that you can upload with a data file and then use to do stock checks, search for books for weeding and do some shelf searching for unexpected items.
All of the books in our library at Heriot-Watt University were tagged with RFID tags last summer and we have been using the Self Service kiosks for circulation and RFID reader pads on the service desk. The tags are used for security too with gates /antennae at the library entrance.
The Smartstock device can be uploaded with a file of items that you want to search for eg when weeding and then you just scan the shelves and it beeps when it locates the item. It has a display which shows the title and barcode details. It can also be used to scan shelves of books to highlight items that are out of place although this is unexpected items rather than shelf tidying. Also it can be used for stock taking whereby you scan the shelves and then upload the data to the LMS as a record of the stock you have.
It all worked very well during the set up and testing. Quite a few members of staff received training so I'm hoping that we can start using it in the next few days.
The next thing I want to investigate is the iPod hardware / software that Bibliotheca have so you can do basic circulation functions via wifi via an iPod - I've not actually seen it but I know they do do it.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Day to day mid-semester stuff

It's that time of year when it's day to day tasks and activities that keep everyone busy.
Mid-semester, everyone into a rhythm of what they are meant to be doing and much to get done.
Library opening time continuing at 8.30 until end of March when we will tip into 24/7 opening - it's not very busy at 8.30 but I think it will get more so as the semester continues so I'll keep promoting it.
We're having a bit of a campaign this week to encourage students to use the self-service machines for issuing and returning books so that the staff on the service desk are free to deal with enquiries and more complicated matters. It requires effort to change habits both students and staff but there's no reason that the self-service can't be used for straightforward circulation to free up staff resource. We have lots of extra tasks to do so it's not a case of staff being deprived of things to do and students find the self service kiosks easy to use.
We have a number of service improvement groups starting up which give staff the chance to be involved in a wide variety of initiatives and extra areas of interest. These include communications, facilities, collections, skills development, VLE etc. Staff are involved in planning their PDRs so the service development group participation is a useful link.
Weeding/stock relegation is continuing but we're finding various bottle necks in the process when we run out of space to store the books before they're checked and packed up. We're combining weeding with shelving and shelf tidying to spread the load more evenly.
Meetings happening about various things such as cleaning in the library, 24/7 opening and the inevitable staffing issues.
I've also been spending more time on IT Helpdesk matters and we've been discussing contingency staffing and training. Also starting to draw up plans for consistent procedures for the Helpdesk system usage as we have more people involved all the time.
If only there was more time to get all these things done but tomorrow's another day.....

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

The place, in pictures

I have blogged far too much about people so here is the place, in pictures - Heriot Watt Library

The main Library Customer Services Desk


 Books and the view

Study spaces

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

It's all about the conversation ........

......talking and discussing and reaching an understanding hopefully while not forgetting that we are there to provide a service. The advantage of working in front line or first line services is that you are, by default, interacting with students, staff, visitors and other customers which keeps it in perspective.
For me, as a manager, it is important not to lose sight of the day to day interactions while stepping back enough to manage effectively.
Nevertheless it is that time of year for PDRs (Performance and Development Review). Although I have quite a bit of experience at carrying out appraisals and performance reviews, I went along to the reviewer training. This was quite useful as it covered some of the procedures and some scenarios which could occur. It was a good opportunity to meet people from other departments across the university and share experiences. The HR partner doing the training was good and made it quite interesting for what is essentially a process that should be very rewarding but often not looked forward to by anyone. She did emphasise that the PDR meeting is 'all about the conversation' and that it is the opportunity for reviewees to have their say about the last year and their plans for the future year.
I'm still spending time getting to know the members of my team, I know it takes time and I remember saying at my interview that it takes two years to build a team so that they work effectively as a unit or unified group. I'm not sure whether it is easier to start with a new team or change an existing team. This week and last week I've been concentrating more on the IT Helpdesk staff in my team and discussing with them the changes and developments that we need to make. I'm hoping the conversation helps us to move forward.