Defining

For a help desk project to start off successfully, it is important to know its basic who, what, when, where, why, and how. The medium for accomplishing this is the statement of work (SOW).

The SOW is a document that captures all that information at a high level. It lays the groundwork for effectively and efficiently managing the project, throughout its life cycle. It also serves as an excellent communications tool between the help desk development team and the customers.

The SOW is especially useful for help desk projects. The customer, expectations, and deliverables often are vague concepts and remain illdefined. Just the draft of a SOW helps to define more clearly all three, thereby avoiding problems later in the life cycle of the project. Exhibit 1 is an outline of the SOW with accompanying examples for each section.

Exhibit 1. Outline of the Statement of Work (SOW)

Section

Example

Introduction

The causes for the help desk project and a description of the customers

Scope

The specific services that the help desk will and maybe will not provide

Goal and

The minimum level of services to provide and their priorities

Section

Example

objectives

Assumptions

The anticipated levels of support from internal functional management and expectations from customers

Resources

The required skills for performing the tasks of the project, such as specific PC application programming, knowledge of call management systems, and problem management

Schedule

Major milestones, including the project completion date

Budget

The total cost of the project, broken by phase or deliverable

Approvers

The signers of the SOW

After completing the SOW, project managers can develop a project announcement that declares the formation of the project. The project sponsor signs the memo, which communicates the name of the project, goal(s), completion date, and any other information deemed important.

The project announcement serves two primary purposes. First, it gives visibility to the project. Second, it communicates that senior management is behind the project.

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Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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