The Perfect Contract
I was contracted to provide technical help, which I would describe as The Perfect Contract. What was perfect about this contract was how much I was able provide because it mirrored my diverse range of skills and abilities. So much so, in fact, that the description of what I did reads almost like my résumé. This contract was a quick turn around – I was called on Thursday and had the majority of work completed by the following Wednesday.
Needs Assessment – 6 hours
The client was in the midst of an office-wide migration from Macintosh computers to Windows PC computers to be compliant with head office. I spoke with their IT Administrator to determine what operating systems were involved and what she thought the key issues were.
I discovered that some Users would migrate directly to PC computers and other would be on their old Apple Macintosh computers running Windows in a Citrix shell for several weeks. My training and materials needed to reflect that.
I explored their system making notes. I needed to know their systems well enough to anticipate a broad range of questions pertaining to both Apple Macintosh and Windows PC operating systems as well as the Citrix Shell. I concluded that I would be giving a lecture type demonstration to all staff using screen projections and handouts.
Create End-User Guide – 11 hours
At home, I created a complementary End-User Migration Guide aimed at both the full PC Users as well as the Mac Users now operating Windows in the Citrix Shell.
Topics covered included Understanding Windows 2000 Server, Using Word and Excel in Windows, Introduction to Outlook, Good PC keyboard shortcuts for Mac Users and how to navigate between the two environments.
Deliver Presentation – 1.5 hours
On Monday, I delivered a presentation to all available staff in their boardroom. I handed out my Guide and used a projector to demonstrate how their new computer environment would operate.
Following the demonstration I answered questions ranging from how to access old programs and files to security concerns in Windows 2000.
Provide Desk-side Support – 14 hours
After the presentation, I visited each staff member in person to help with specific questions or concerns. As with many offices, there was a broad range of skills to accommodate. Some Users had come from Windows backgrounds in other companies and were pleased to return to a Windows environment. Others had only ever known a Mac environment and verged on terror at the prospect of starting all over again with a new and unfamiliar operating system.
I took time to assess their individual needs so that I could provide service to even those who initially thought they didn’t require any support. For example, I showed some Users how to create mail rules to organize their email in Outlook, how to assign their favourite keyboard shortcuts to toolbars in Word and how to navigate and manage files in Windows.
I returned over several days to provide desk side support and re-iterate the initial presentation to those how had not been to the original presentation.
Design Corporate Logo 3.5 hours
An interesting spin-off of this contract was that the IT Administrator discovered that their corporate logo did not port over well from Macintosh to Windows and asked if I could redesign it.
My solution was to recreate their old logo using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop and create both Web and print versions to suit all their needs. After one revision, they were pleased with what I created and the new logo now adorns their corporate letterhead and Website.
Although I have taken on more technically challenging contracts than this one, rarely have I been able to roll so many skills into one short contract. I welcome all other creative and diverse opportunities where my skills and abilities can be as well utilized.
And here’s what the client had to say
Thank you for providing [us] with Jason Hall’s services during their migration; the project is officially over. During the sign-off interview, [our IT Manager] said she was extremely satisfied with the work Jason did. (Despite me giving you such short notice!) [She] was particularly impressed with Jason’s ability to quickly resolve their logo migration issue. This would have been a huge problem for them to resolve but Jason did it within a day.
Thanks again for pulling the rabbit out of the hat. I look forward to working with you again.