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OCCS Introduces ‘ODU Game Plan,’ a Project Management Tool to Support Clients’ IT Projects

Old Dominion was recognized recently by University Business magazine as a "Model of Efficiency" among the nation's institutions of higher education. The magazine lauded ODU and eight other colleges and universities for their "innovative approaches for streamlining higher education operations through improvements in technology or business processes."

With efficiency in mind, ODU's Office of Computing and Communications Services (OCCS) has developed a new program, ODU Game Plan, that uses Web-based software to provide project and portfolio management and service desk solutions. Developed by the higher education software firm TeamDynamixHE, the program was tailored specifically to ODU's needs and serves to support the university's goals for streamlining and improving operations.

ODU Game Plan features tools for project planning, resource management, time tracking, project request workflows and reporting, and offers a central location for managing information technology (IT) projects at the university. It also features project dashboards that provide a visual image of what team members need to be doing on any given day and help identify issues and potential problems.

"Game Plan provides a consistent process for our campus clients to initiate new IT projects and helps us manage them all along the way," said Rusty Waterfield, ODU's chief information officer and assistant vice president for computing and communications services. In addition to helping manage individual projects from beginning to end, Game Plan simultaneously tracks all projects to help avoid time and resource conflicts.

Game Plan helps a project progress while staying true to the customer's original goals for the project. "It's a very logical process that keeps the customer close to their own project all the way through," said Waterfield. "The customer submits a project request, they are given access to the system, they provide the basic information about the goal of the project and the resources they think they will need, and then we move forward with determining who in OCCS needs to be assigned to the project, what resources will be needed, etc., and the customer is involved all along the way."

Because ODU Game Plan is a higher education solution designed for ODU, customers will find themselves in comfortable and familiar territory. "One of the selling points for this system was that it is designed for higher education and customized for ODU. It is accessible and personal for all users, regardless of their level of understanding of project management principles and practices," said Waterfield.

While ODU Game Plan is a detailed project management tool, Waterfield is careful to stress that it will not create barriers between OCCS staff members and individual users seeking help with everyday tasks.

"A request to do a task is very different from initiating a project," he said. "A project has clearly defined objectives, outcomes, a start date and an end date. Routine daily requests are tasks and we will continue to provide the highest level of service when responding to requests from our users for support."

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