Posted on February 22, 2011 by servant | News| Tags: documentation, technology
How does your A/V system work? Who knows the exact configuration? Is it just the TD? That may be well and good, since he is the expert; but what happens if he quits? How will you fix things if you don’t have a clue about the wiring!
Every A/V setup should have a configuration manual. This can be hand drawings, but using a computer will make it a little clearer. It should document the essential connections between major components in audio, lighting, and video. That way, there is something written down that explains it all. Doing this will capture the institutional memory of how things are wired together, so that anyone on the tech team can figure out a problem – even when the TD is away.
Sure, it takes time to document things. But you can do it at a high level – i.e. component by component. You don’t have to label every single wire and document the wiring harness. But you do need to revise the configuration manual periodically as new equipment comes in, so that it stays up to date.
Posted on February 2, 2011 by servant | News| Tags: Geek, non-technical user, religion, science, technology
Let’s face it, the Church setting is not known for having a lot of Geeks. And in my experience, most pastoral staff were trained in religion and the arts – i.e. not the sciences and technology. So how do you support a non-technical staff person? First, you can’t expect them to understand technical jargon. Always remember that they simply weren’t trained for it, so the words will be going over (or under) their heads. Restate the technical details in terms that a layman or laywoman can understand. And you can’t expect them to be as enthusiastic about the technology as you are – you won’t hear any gee-wiz statements out of them. Remember that they are more concerned with the message – i.e. the Good News. And that is wholly appropriate. So point out how the technology will help get across the message in new ways.
A favorite analogy of mine is crossing a lake. There are many ways to get to the other side. You can fly the lake over in a helicopter – i.e. provide a quick overview. Or you can take a boat across – i.e. make a presentation. If you have the faith of Peter, then you can walk across – i.e. walk them through a tutorial. Or you can swim across – really getting your feet wet by explaining it all. Finally, you can put on scuba gear and go across along the bottom of the lake – i.e. sharing all of the nitty-gritty details. With each way, your staff member will encounter an increasing amount of technical detail. Some will like the details; others will abhor it. Obviously, you’ll want to pick the way across that is appropriate for the person you are talking to. If they only want to fly across, let them soar. If they really want to get their feet wet, go swimming with them. (Be sure to save the scuba diving for those times when you go to conferences on technology in the Church, or add your comments here.) Non-Technical users will always appreciate it when you don’t overwhelm them with the technology!
Supporting your users involves making the appropriate choice in how you communicate about the technology. You can’t expect everyone in the Church to have the same level of understanding that you do, so adapt to your audience and let the Word go forth!