Be the Miracle Worker

I want to preface this by saying that I never lie to end users. But here’s some advice that I’ve picked up over my almost two decades of doing this: sometimes you have to keep the magic alive.

If you are general IT support, or if you are specifically BIM support, it often helps when folks pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. This might seem deceitful, and a good argument could be made that it is, but on a practical level you often have a fix for something that on the surface seems really easy, but you know from experience that there’s that one step that people always miss and then they are just going to call you anyway, doubling the time it would have taken to fix it.

So, sometimes, I don’t offer up the information about how I did something. If they ask I would tell them, but I try to be a little obtuse. And this is a tricky line to know when you need to hang onto certain tasks and what tasks you can safely give away. And it might vary per user too, it’s your tricky job to be able to know what to dole out to whom.

As an example, I had a user today ask me about a particularly slow model. The file was tiny (Revit speaking) and there was no reason for it to be so slow. I made a detached copy and did a couple first run fixes, figuring out that a simple Save As made the darn thing pretty zippy. So, I had my fix.

Saving a new copy of a Central File successfully has a lot of steps, and I wasn’t sure about the experience level of some of the users involved. So, instead of simply saying “Go ahead and just save as a new copy,” I said, “let me try a few things.” Innocent, true, and implies that this is a tricky IT task that requires a hydro-spanner and possibly a flux capacitor.

In the “First Word of STAR” universes, I fall way more in the camp of “Wars” than “Trek”, but I am often reminded of a quote from Mr. Spock in The Wrath of Khan:

Saavik: You lied.

Spock: I exaggerated.

And that’s how it goes. I took the numerous steps to make sure everyone had synced, verified no one was accessing the central file on the server via Windows management, opened a detached copy while maintaining worksets, renamed the original’s extension (just in case), moved the backup folder for the “old” central file, saved the “new” model in the same place with the same name as the old one, then did one last sync to relinquish everything. Then I told everyone to get a new local.

Simple, easy steps, but enough little steps that someone could easily miss. Especially that last sync. That seems to be the one that throws people off.

And guess what? The file opened way faster after that.

So just keep in mind that another part of your job, one that isn’t written down anywhere, is to know when to let someone in on the secret and when to keep the secret to yourself.



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