Sunday, August 26, 2007

Maintenance requests go "Web 2.0"

Maintenance requests have been a source of frustration in my school for as long as I have been there (going on 11 years now). The paper form is completed and forwarded to the maintenance department. What happens after that is sometimes anyone's guess. Ours was a system beyond "tweaking."

What we needed was something totally different. What would a better system look like? First and foremost, it would let all involved in the process see the "big picture." The superintendent would be able to see the totality of requests--what had been completed, and what was outstanding. Those who schedule the work should be able to see all outstanding work at a glance so they could make the the best choices in making assignments. Principals and teachers would be able to see progress on the items which impacted them.

GoogleDocs has proved to be the answer for us. All maintenance requests are housed on one spreadsheet. Every principal has the ability to add requests to the spreadsheet. The maintenance department activates a request by assigning a date and an maintenance employee to it. Requests are marked complete by filling in a completion date.

The beauty of the system is that everyone can see everything. On our employee blog, TeachTalladega, we have a link to the maintenance requests. I think all of our eyes have been opened as to the sheer number of requests and can perhaps be a bit more patient as a limited staff works its way through the list. By the same token, that same limited staff can make better choices about how the day is planned now that all of the cards are on the table.
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