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I have worked in many roles within projects, both as a consultant and as a member of the permanent staff. In these projects there is always a key person you should find, and treat really well when you find them.

You can recognise them by these three characteristics:


1. Have the knowledge to help you
2. Have the security privileges (real or otherwise) to help you
3. Are willing to help you

If you find this person you are going to be able to achieve so much more in your day. If you do not find them, you may end up at the mercy of a helpdesk email or phone line.

For most 'business as usual' situations there are often very good processes in place to get things done, like a new piece of software, password resets and being added to an email list. However, in a project you are likely to have some time pressures and here is where this person is invaluable. It can be the most simple things like granting you access to a development server, restarting a service, installing a hot fix or even just providing information to help you troubleshoot.

I am not saying that you should not respect change control and, when you are requested to, to log a call, but rather that you have someone you can go to who can tell the difference between you being lazy and you trying to do your job.

Some companies actually have an entire team of these people, great skills and willingness to help your project out. But you will at some stage find yourself in a situation where you need to get access to a server or need a mailbox set up, admin rights to install some software on your dev PC… and you will encounter roadblocks. It may not be the person’s fault; they may simply not be empowered enough to help you; they may be constrained by set processes or management that was hurt by loose development in the past. There are many reasons why and it can result in you sitting around waiting for your problem to be sorted.

There is a lot you can do to help the situation, such as planning all you need in advance. This will also help prevent overwhelming a key resource with urgent work when it could have been easily handled through the normal channels. What I’m talking about here is those situations you did not anticipate and which really need to be addressed sooner rather than later. No point having an entire project team waiting around because you cannot get a server rebooted.

So thanks to those who have helped my projects out at short notice, and also to those who knew when to tell me to go and log a call!

Posted by: Steve Chappel, Solution Consultant | 16 September 2009

Tags: Project Delivery

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