A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A SERVICE DELIVERY MANAGER
Nicky Aiken, Senior Service Delivery Manager and Project Manager
My working day starts at 8.00am, after I’ve dropped my toddler at nursery. Obviously I’m working at home at the moment but the nursery is close to the office so it doesn’t make a difference to my timing.
Perhaps the biggest difference about remote working is that’s too easy to do just one more task and then another. And another. And then suddenly it’s 10.30pm. My focus is always on customer support and my philosophy is to get on with whatever needs doing, which makes stopping difficult, though I always make a real effort to log off in decent time so I can hang out with my kid before his bedtime. I know a decent work/life is important but it can be hard.
I work with people across the world so I start my day by going through overnight emails. I normally have about 20 actionable messages each day. I also look at our portal to check if there is anything I need to do about tickets that have been raised or that need my attention. Between them, that frames my morning’s work.
Once a week, we have a team meeting at 8.30am. Even though we haven’t actually met in person very much in the 15 months, we have a great working dynamic. I genuinely feel lucky to work with people who are determined to make it work, whatever it is and whatever it takes. We work in a small industry and I have no doubt we have the good people here at ITC Global.
Once I’ve been through the overnight tasks, my day is made up of project meetings, checking-in on engineers, chasing suppliers and updating customers.
The job of a Service Delivery Manager is all about the planning, which means being very organized. That starts with my desk, which is always clean. And one of the benefits of working from home is not having access to the big printer in the office, so I don’t print as much. That’s definitely a good change.
Our standard way of working is that we develop detailed project plans and then manage their implementation. That way, we don’t get any surprises. And the work should then be self-sustaining, running through the project plan.
But, occasionally, things happen. We get faults, which cause outages. It’s not good, of course, when something has gone wrong and there is disruption. I really hate letting people down.
But I secretly quite enjoy the pressure of fixing problems. It’s when we get to really tax our engineering imaginations to find a solution as quickly as possible, though it does sometimes mean working through the night. It’s one of the things I miss about being a technician.
I learnt important lessons about operating under pressure when I was a Royal Marine Commando. It taught me how to get things sorted quickly and efficiently, using whatever tools are available. It also taught me to learn quickly.
Not long ago, we came across an antenna that was so old it needed to be upgraded using a floppy disc. None of us had ever seen one before – the antenna; I’m old enough to remember floppies – so that took some rapid figuring out. And it’s very much a team effort: more heads always work better than one.
And in fact these surprises are part of our planning. However careful we are, we are bound to have issues. We therefore have a very clear escalation strategy to make sure any problems are flagged quickly and the right team gets onto the job to find the solution. The quality of our work is defined by how well we cope with problems as much as it is by how well we look after day-to-day operations.
There’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of solving a difficult problem and making sure everything is back up and running. It’s a huge sense of achievement and the best excuse to break out the good whisky at the end of the day: I’ve got a bottle of Dawhinnie Winter’s Gold on the go at the moment for those major moments. It’s when I allow myself to stop and let the emails build up for the morning.