Communication and infrastructure are two key elements in organizing a help desk project. Both ensure that the project is executed according to plan efficiently and effectively.

Communication This element has two parts: documentation and meetings.

Documentation entails developing any material that proves useful for managing the project. Typical documentation includes forms (e.g., time collection), reports (e.g., status report), procedures (e.g., change control), and reference material.

Often this documentation is collected and then filed in project history files. These files serve as a repository of information about the history of the project, from inception to completion. This information can prove useful for analyzing problems and learning from experience.

Meetings are of three basic types: checkpoint review, status review, and staff.

A checkpoint review meeting is held after completing a major milestone (e.g., completion of a phase). Its purpose is to learn from the experience up to a specific point in time and decide whether to proceed.

A status review meeting is held regularly to determine progress against the project plan, from a cost, schedule, and quality perspective. It is preferable to collect status prior to the meeting so people can discuss issues intelligently.

A staff meeting also is held regularly. Its purpose is to share information and experiences. Often times, the staff and status review meetings are held together in the same session to reduce the number of meetings and the time spent in them. Infrastructure This element deals with applying resources in a manner that maximizes output. One approach is to set up a project organization, which is reflected in an organizational chart. The organizational chart should provide a reporting structure and clarify roles and responsibilities. The organization should incorporate basic management principles, such as span of control, unity of direction, and accountability.

Another approach is to publish a responsibility matrix as discussed earlier. The matrix helps to clarify responsibilities and the extent of involvement. Publication breeds commitment because it gives visibility.

Still another effective approach is to establish a project office. Depending on the project's size, of course, the project office is a place for holding meetings, storing documentation, and displaying information. A good way to display information is to set up a visibility wall or even a room to display plans, architecture, and other key information of the project. The wall or room then turns the project office into an effective communications as well as administrative center.

Team members and customers of help desk projects will find the visibility wall or room useful. With plots or diagrams on display, they can see the overall structure of the help desk center, its services, its procedures, and the impact on the business.

Project Management Made Easy

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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