Planning and Measuring for Multi-taskers


Since IT Asset Managers have roles in many processes where tasks may require near simultaneous action, the ability to multitask is as important to the people of ITAM as it is for the equipment that we manage.  In order to prioritize, plan and execute daily activities as well as process improvements, an understanding of how to manage and measure multi-tasking is helpful.

Project Managers are adept at planning and communicating multiple tasks occurring at the same time.  Every action within a project is part of the work-breakdown structure or Gantt chart.  Both of these project metrics use duration of a project task in relation with the other task to define timeframe of completion.

Effort versus duration is a frequently used measurement for calculating task value that works well when planning for multitasking.  Effort, as defined by, is the exertion of physical or mental power.  With automation the actual effort used to accomplish a task can be very small.  Duration is a measurement of how long the resources take to complete an action, including automation time as well as people time.

For instance, consider a project to confirm desktop and laptop equipment for a department, generating lists of assets not-reporting and reporting, but not in the repository as belonging to this department.  The duration for an electronic discovery of the marketing department is one hour.  The effort includes the computer time and the time it takes the IT employee to launch the program.  The time also includes the ITAM employee communicating with the department to schedule and remind the department of the inventory and then completing the analysis by reviewing the reports and sharing results.  For this example, the effort is estimated at two hours.

Using effort versus duration helps the planner prepare a more accurate representation of the impact of any task on specific resources and the execution of subsequent tasks.  Since ITAM projects and activities involve multiple tasks and multiple processes, the more accurate the planning can be, the better the end results will match to the planned conclusion.

Calculating ROI and TCO is easier to calculate when the effort and duration are understood.  Duration of an IT process does not necessarily mean an employee has to be there monitoring the process the entire time.  Cost is derived from effort.  The ROI and TCO calculations relate more to the effort exerted during a project and not necessarily to the duration.  Considering the nature of tasks at a deeper level can lead to increased accuracy of statements regarding greater ROI for a project or a reduced TCO for IT processes.

About the Author

The International Association of IT Asset Managers (IAITAM) is the largest organization providing education, certification and thought leadership to the management of IT as a business. IT Asset Management is the management of hardware, software, mobile and other technology to maximize the value to the organization.