Turning the tables: A 'Users for Dummies' guide for IT

Tired of being told that techies are the problem when it comes to working with the business? Follow InfoWorld's eight-step program for getting users to do what you want

Those damned users. They're always whining about how people in IT don't get them, don't know how to communicate, and need to "align" to their interests. As if only IT pros have to do the work in the relationship.

But we all know that this unfair situation is common, and IT suffers as a result. And IT pros particularly suffer when it's time for cutbacks. Fortunately, IT pros can get the upper hand by thinking of users as a problem to be solved through a rational plan, as if it were any other vexing issue that gums up the works.

[ Fun with "us versus them": Check out InfoWorld's "Stupid user tricks" series and "Dirty IT jobs" series. | Wear your geekdom with pride, with InfoWorld's signature T-shirts and mugs. ]

To help IT get the upper hand, InfoWorld has put together an eight-part plan for dealing with users, which we call the "Users for Dummies" plan, after the famous line of books that teaches everything from Windows Vista to sex for the novice, um, user.

HR people and hiring managers, bless their hearts, would call this "soft skills," a squishy term that often insinuates that IT pros will never get it. Herewith is InfoWorld's guide to mastering those soft skills in a way that anyone with a disciplined, engineering mind can use.

By the time you've worked through this eight-step guide, you'll have a working arsenal of soft skills -- and the advantage of being able to work with users at their level while remaining fully in command of your right brain.

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