Task Groups

A task group is a group of individuals who are responsible for a well-defined area of computing support (e.g. support of a particular OS, an application, accounts maintenance, ...).

A task group is not simply a collection of individuals having a common interest. Membership in a task group implies responsibility and this implies doing real work. The responsibility can either be directly for a supported system, or for it's use in support of our clients, i.e. that of "stakeholders" within the support group. Membership of stakeholders within a taskgroup is optional. Consulting stakeholders about proposed changes in the support area isn't optional. It is assumed that membership in a task group requires sufficient knowledge to be able to participate in conversations about the support area.

Because the required expertise will often span hardware, software, procedures, and policy, a task group will often consist of a variety of individuals. Even so, task group size is intended to be kept small. The group is expected to consult more widely on those occasions where the expertise within the group cannot meet the needs of the moment.

Current Groups

Purpose

The intent of identifying task groups is to

  • benefit from the synergy of multi-disciplinary approaches
  • foster standard approaches to support
  • encourage initiative in identified areas
  • clarify responsibilities
  • maintain and improve communications within the support group
  • maintain and improve communications between support groups
Aside from the inherent range of skills needed to effectively support the computing environment, the diversity of the environment breeds the need for integration, which further increases the need for a multidisciplinary approach.

Task groups are not intended to replace/redefine management structure.

While some task groups might require regular interaction with other professionals and/or computing support groups, it is not the role of the task group to establish directions and/or initiatives; these may be explored but all directives will require prior approval of management.

Organization

Each task group will have at least two members and its membership and area of responsibility will be determined only by management. Task groups are struck and/or dissolved by management. The existence of a task group in a support group should encourage but not require membership from the other support groups.

Management will normally identify one member of the task group as the group leader. It is the group leader's responsibility to ensure that the task group is active and attending to its area of responsibility.

It is expected that groups will encompass a range of talents and duties and that individual members will often have expertise in different, albeit possibly overlapping, areas. When dealing with their recognized areas of expertise, individuals are encouraged to adopt a leadership role in the group.

Individual members of a task group continue to report to their manager; the entire task group reports to the management committee.

The position of leader is not intended to be permanent and should normally change from time to time and will be reviewed at least annually.

It is expected that members of a task group will meet regularly; at such meetings the group leader will act as chair.

The leader may be called upon to report on the activities of the group to management, directors, or to the support group at large.

Normally, directions taken by the task group are to be arrived at by consensus. In those cases where consensus within membership is not possible, expanding the discussion to include the relevant manager(s) is recommended. Ultimately, the problem might require resolution by the management committee although this is not normally expected to be the case.

A task group may have members from multiple computing support groups. The intent is to keep each group aware of the directions of the other, adopting similar approaches where practical. It is not the intent that the direction of a support group be dictated by another. It is expected that each support group may necessarily have different approaches to problems. Once (the reasons for) a difference is understood, it is expected that a task group will proceed accordingly.


See Also

Existing Task Groups

Topic revision: r3 - 2009-03-05 - LawrenceFolland
 
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