Delivering Projects by Managing Ops with a Duty Analyst

by | December 14, 2009

Last week, I presented the accomplishments of my applications team in 2009. I was blown away by the number and the scope of the projects my team delivered to our community. I firmly believe that the separation of our operational duties from our project work enabled us to be so productive. While most people would celebrate the project teams |(and we do!), I want to acknowledge the key enabler of this success – our Duty Analyst role.

I blogged previously about our Duty Analyst role here.

Implementing a duty analyst role minimizes the operational interruptions to our team members working on projects. Providing project members focused time to work on project challenges and meeting milestones becomes easier without operational interruptions.

I am proud to say my team delivered on our operational responsibilities and completed 43 projects in 2009.

Here is the breakdown of projects my team delivered:

  • Projects by Size : Small = 19, Medium = 14, Large = 10
  • Projects by Governance : BCIT Executive = 3, IT Governance Team = 14, Business Applications Committee = 5, Departmental = 11, Operational = 10
  • Projects by Community : Learning and Technology Services = 20, Student Services = 9, Education = 4, Finance = 3, Human Resources = 3, BCIT Executive = 3, BCIT Student Association = 1

We continue to refine the Duty Analyst role as well as our IT Governance and Project Management approaches.  I am excited to see what we can do in 2010 to continue to deliver value.  We will be upgrading our ERP this year and taking a focused approach leveraging the Duty Analyst will make all the difference.

2 thoughts on “Delivering Projects by Managing Ops with a Duty Analyst

  1. Johan Lindberg

    Hi Leo,

    and thanks for yet another interesting post.

    A couple of months ago, I was leading a project team aiming to find a solution to the problem of mixing project and operations work with our limited pool of resources. We ended up suggested something very similar to what you describe (we didn’t call it Duty Analyst though).

    Unfortunately no one else thought it was a very good idea. Those of us who worked to produce the suggestion are quite certain that it will pay off rather quickly but we’re stuck at the moment since no one even wants to give it a try even though every one agrees that the way we do it now is really terrible.

    Did you sugar coat this in any way to get people to accept spending a whole month doing operations instead of project work?


    1. LeodeSousa Post author


      Thank you for the comments and the questions. I will try to give you more details below.

      We implemented the ITIL Incident Management process over 5 years ago. Over that time, we developed a culture of managing operational work via queues. This was in response to the constant phone calls directed at our technical staff causing constant interruptions and delays in project deliverables. Also our clients complained to us about the inconsistent service they received. Worse we had no way to tell what we were working on to give our clients good answers to their service concerns. We began by educating our clients and our technical staff that all requests/incidents had to be tracked in our common service desk system. As incidents were categorized by our service desk, they were assigned to team queues. This was a good start but still caused our technical staff to split their workdays between operational incidents and their project work.

      When we started to think about the Duty Analyst, it was to address complaints from my development team about the interruptions caused by daily operational issues. We gather monthly to review the queue. The outgoing duty analyst reports out on how their month went. Next, as a group we review all items in the queue and assign 3 to 6 incidents to the incoming duty analyst. There is a huge benefit to doing this as a team. Everyone sees what is in the queue and we all agree on what is a fair workload for the duty analyst. Since they all know that they will be doing this work, the level of candor and teamwork is really great to see. One of the biggest pluses for the team of 6 developers is knowing they have two months a year of operational work and the rest of the year to work on fun and interesting projects. It almost sells itself!

      If there is anything else I can share with you please let me know. As a manager of this team, I am completely impressed by how this little change in the way we work has made our team so productive. That is something really good to celebrate!

      All the best, Leo


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