KC Lemson

By KC Lemson [MS]

Exchange admins - help me with an experiment?

Exchange admins - help me with an experiment?

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We talk to Exchange admins all the time about what their pain points are, what they wish was different about exchange, what they like, etc and we’ve shadowed admins for a few hours at a time to see what their routines & activities are like, but I am wondering if we are missing out on some more subtle details… for example, there may be activities you guys do in your daily life that you don’t think about twice because they're second nature, but if we were to analyze the amount of time you spend on those activities over an entire week we’d find out that they are repetitive and could be removed if we would just change the product behavior.

 

One way I'm thinking about finding out more about this is to get Exchange administrators to do us a favor and fill out a daily log, describing in their own words what they do in 15-30 minute time chunks throughout the day. An example activity could be “helpdesk escalated; user had problem authenticated. Checked account with LDP, saw masteraccountsid was gone. Reset using ADSIedit, fixed.” or “ensured that antispam filters on all edge servers have been updated” or something like that.

 

The goal is to get an idea of what tasks are performed, whether or not they are regular/repetitive tasks, and roughly how long it took to perform each task. By collecting this info across a broad spectrum of Exchange admins, we can then look for ways to optimize the experience - for example we could compare the tasks of not just full-time exchange admins, but helpdesk personnel who deal with Exchange issues, IT architects, etc. But for now, I'm just working on the concept of gathering data in this way.

 

So before I commission a big study to do this for a lot of customers & crunch that data, I want to trial the concept and iterate on the format of the log… I want to make sure that it doesn't take a huge amount of time for admins to do this work (in which case nobody would do it for us :-), or that it's too hard to get granular data such that we don't come up with any ideas of what to change out of the results.

 

So here's my ask, blog readers who are also exchange admins (or know any Exchange admins)... will you log a day or two in your life for me? Here's the log template, it's my first iteration, so it's pretty basic:

 

Time Activity Do you commonly perform this task?

9 - 9:30 AM    
9:30 - 10 AM    
10 - 10:30 AM    
10:30 - 11 AM    
11 - 11:30 AM    

 

For the first five folks who email me saying they will do this (kclemson AT microsoft DOT com) & then follow through within the next two weeks, I'll send you each an Exchange 2007 tshirt (I designed them, they were given out only to the product team for E2k7 milestones) as a thankyou, so include your tshirt size and address in the email to save me some time :-)

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