Wednesday 2 February 2022

Plan projects in an IT help desk environment

In the area of IT support, the help desk often has to be ready to support a new tool, application, technology, or product that is being launched for end users. 


Although these types of projects are usually small and uncomplicated, all support projects require proper planning and must adhere to the project framework to maintain customer satisfaction and ensure that no changes in the supported environment adversely affect the service provided by the help desk.

One of the main objectives of the current activities of the support service should be to ensure customer satisfaction through the constant provision of the expected service. It can be at risk when you introduce support for a new technology, tool, application, or product, and the customer becomes dissatisfied with the service.

What types of projects are I referring to? 


A project can be, for example, implementing a new enterprise line-of-business application, transferring end users to another email client, or launching a new version of an existing application or technology already in use. 


If this is indeed the case, it is likely that the creation of a support service is part of a large cross-industry project. Problems often arise here if the project manager is not fully aware of the role that the help desk will play or believes that a bit of planning is required. 


At the same time, the readiness of the support service is ignored, which is extremely frustrating for the technical support staff and customers! If you are a support project manager, make sure that the broader IT organization is aware of what the telephone help desk does and what role it plays in providing end-user support.


Ask questions first

The help desk project manager needs information to assess the scope of the project and the impact it will have on the help desk staff and end users. Here are some examples of what you need:

  • Who are the stakeholders?
  • When do I need new support?
  • What is the expected level of support?
  • Are there any known risks at the moment?
  • What will be the specific support goals for this project?
  • How long will it take to implement?

In cases where this project is part of a broader cross-industry project, ensure that the project manager is aware of and agrees to these timelines.

As with many projects, the key to the success of a support project is planning. If this stage is done hastily, critical tasks may be missed and the project is more likely to fail. As always, a detailed and accurate project plan is the primary tool for ensuring the success of a project in a support environment.

When you start planning your project, you should fully understand all support requirements. They may contain the following topics, expanding on the information gathered at the beginning.

  • Basic user base: How many users will have the app? Where will they be located? What languages are required? What support hours are required?
  • Scope of support: What is expected? Basic fault diagnosis, deeper support, or simple "capture and send?" who will be the Level 2 contacts for transferring problem resolution to a higher level of the hierarchy? What will be included in the scope of support, and what will not be included in it? Who will handle questions about the method of action and training? The above questions apply to transition period support and ongoing support.
  • Telephony: Does the new support require any menu changes? Do you need new options or new numbers?
  • Support Method: Does the customer require support via phone, chat, email, or a combination of both?
  • Volumes: How many calls are expected each month? Will additional staff be required, and how will this affect the time it takes to implement support?
  • Training agents: Who will provide the training, and how long will it take? Who will provide documentary evidence of agents' knowledge, and how long will it take? How many agents will you have to train?

All this information should be taken into account and used in the project plan. When creating a project plan, the following is taken into account:

  • The structure of the group. Explain which support team members will be involved in the project and adopt a plan to keep them informed and allow them to provide feedback.
  • Task list, operations and work breakdown structure.
  • Critical path and graph.
  • Budget. Keep in mind that if you need new support personnel, you may need tools such as phone equipment and computers.
  • Quality metrics and what your work and process improvement plans might look like.
  • Communications. Contains the dates of meetings with the project team or communication with stakeholders.
  • Registration of risks and problems. Monitor the implementation of the reduction of any identified risks or problems.

As soon as you have identified a critical path – share it! All stakeholders need to know when support will be provided so that everyone has real expectations of what and when technical support can do.

Now it remains only to check and finalize the plan, get approval and hold a kick-off meeting to proceed to the implementation phase. Good planning ensures the successful completion of the rest of the project.

No comments:

Post a Comment