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Combining helpdesk and project management software makes perfect sense to the knowledge workers: for many, their days are split between proactive project work and reactive support work. Having both types of work managed in a single system creates efficiencies and makes it easier to prioritize. However, help desk functions are rapidly adopted for many other functions, such as defect tracking, risk management/tracking, issue management, administration, and… project management.

manage projects like a proProject managers often turn to the help desk software, rather than the classic project management function. To understand further, look at the nature of these very different types of software:

  • Help desk software is used to manage smaller, disparate bits of work. “Tickets” can be created in moments, routed to others, and deferred to a future date/time. There is little or no relationship between tickets, so they can be created, reassigned, deferred, or closed with little concern for their impact on a larger plan. Service desk software is good for managing work.
  • Project management software is used for planning larger collections of inter-related work. There is a presumption of order, scheduling, and more complex rationalization of the resources needed to deliver the work. The most common output is a plan, and it’s less common that the software is used for directing, tracking, and reporting the actual minutiae of activities performed by the workers. Project management software is good for planning work.

In practice, many projects are not complex enough to warrant the investment in traditional ‘project planning’. When the project is smaller, the resources are known, and the work is understood, some projects managers have more success in assigning the work via tickets. It is likely that the work will be more closely managed this way. Using a combined help desk and project management software system will help your IT department streamline the operation.

Donais, Mark, and Cousins, Barry, “An Introduction to One-Task-List”, www.entry.com, Entry Software Corporation, September 1998.

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