Project Management in Higher Education
Anyone who has been on this earth over the last 4-6 weeks has abruptly learned a few key lessons, and one of these is that tech adoption is not that hard! Whether you are zooming with your grandmother or have moved your fitness class from the gym to your laptop, you might have realized along with millions of others – online learning and online communication are parts of our fabric of life.
That said, going online for social interactions and extracurricular activities is a little different from migrating the operations of entire higher education institutions into the digital space. Anyone doing project management in higher education right now can attest to the power of a crisis to accelerate organizational change – ready or not.
Yet if we pay attention, higher education institutions can come out of this situation with better processes, greater preparedness, and higher quality services than ever before.
So – what can we learn from this, and how can we apply those lessons to IT project management in higher education? Here are 3 key lessons.
3 Key ITSM Lessons to Take from the Transition to Online Learning in Higher Education
1. Tech adoption accelerates with need – even the self-service portal. Have you had problems getting your end-users to adopt a service portal or a knowledge base? Service desk technicians have been trying desperately for YEARS to get folks to self-service. Information Technology teams can use this opportunity to contemplate how to accelerate the adoption of service desk tools such as an end-user service portal for helpdesk services.
Sometimes these struggles are simply due to the fact that ”we have not done that before” – but necessity can drive ingenuity. Create a compelling reason for your end-users to adopt new ways of doing things. Simply telling them to go online to a portal is not compelling, but clearly demonstrating the value of such a change is. You can also encourage buy-in by opening communication channels so that end-users feel heard. This can include:
Integrated chat tools
Ability to leave feedback for the service desk
2. Knowledge Base Content Needs to be Good. If you are going to have a knowledge base, and if you are going to ask your Higher Education end-users to go there for answers, the content needs to be good. It is very important that it is peer reviewed, using folks in Information Technology as well as end-users. Putting the content on a cadence for review of relevance and accuracy and allowing for iterative/crowd-sourced feedback will help your service desk team provide more usable and reliable content. Follow the tips below:
Create compelling content – Get it peer-reviewed.
Enrich your content – Embed videos, pictures, how-to step by step guides.
Take iterative feedback – Leverage knowledge-centered service (KCS)
3. Asset Management REALLY MATTERS. Information Technology professionals need to have a certain amount of information available in order to be effective on the service desk with project management in higher education. This is why having an integrated asset management platform as part of the service desk is critical – this way, you do not need to ask each end-user for key information, such as which version of Windows they are running or what is their laptop make & model. All of this is available to the service desk via an inventory system. Having the ability to perform asset discovery across a network takes this to another level completely.
It is helpful for service desk teams if they can manage configuration item records in asset applications. The three types of CIs are Assets, Services, and “Standalone” Configuration Items. Each type represents an instance of a CI, though they all support different functionality and store distinct information that is relevant to the type’s intended usage.
The records can be used to store information as needed, but these types were designed with the intended functionality:
Assets– Physical items that are used in an organization (computers, servers, office appliances, etc.). These may have associated ownership/user/location information.
Services– Service records in the Client Portal Service Catalog which can be used to submit project/ticket requests or link to other websites (asset repair request, password reset help, etc.). These may have associated ownership information. Further, they provide a way for Client Portal users to interact with TDNext users.
“Standalone” Configuration Items– Non-physical items which are used in an organization (virtual machines, software licenses, etc.). These may have associated ownership/location information. Further, since these can represent a wide array of items, administrators are able to create custom Configuration Item Types for an asset application that is associated with these records.
These three configuration item types can be used to store all items an organization needs to operate while providing an outlet for others to request assistance when those items have issues. Further, relationships can be added between CIs to show any dependencies they may have (even across multiple asset applications). However, the real power of configuration management comes from association with tickets.
As we look forward, we expect that Information Technology professionals will not look back – the lessons learned from a rapid migration to online learning will stay. Learn more about how TeamDynamix supports project management in higher education today.
TeamDynamix offers Service and Project Management together on a single cloud-based platform. TeamDynamix transforms IT from order taker to strategic innovator. Organizations in the public sector, education, enterprise, and healthcare leverage the solution to improve IT maturity, optimize resources, and deliver enhanced end-user service. TeamDynamix offers IT Service Management (ITSM), Project Portfolio Management (PPM), and Enterprise Service Management (ESM) together in one solution.
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