Using Activities to manage your IBM PMR's

Today in conversation (and by conversation of course I mean Twitter) a question came up on how to best manage PMR’s (Problem Management Reports aka what you open when something is not behaving as it should) with IBM.  My solution to this has been to use Activities in Lotus Connections.   Why use Activities, simple it is the perfect tool for the job and here is why.   I created an Activity Template, the template is pre-populated with some general information that you need when opening a PMR such as Phone number, customer ID etc.  The Activity Template also includes who should be a member when an activity is created from this template.  Once you have your template in order anyone who opens a PMR, can create an Activity in one click, and the rest of the team is automatically notified of the new PMR. So among the other advantages, if you are working with a group of people, you no longer need to send an e-mail or otherwise notify them of the PMR and incident that led to it, Activities takes care of that for you. As the PMR goes through it’s life cycle, using Notes 8 and the Activities sidebar plugin, you can easily add or access information in the activity, very often data is exchanged with the PMR owner at IBM via e-mail, and the person who received the e-mail either forwarded it to the group (or the rest of the group was simply lacking the information) now any data received via e-mail can simply be dropped in to the activity, no need to forward (or save it in your mail file either). Using this approach is a very simple way to centrally collect data related to a specific incident, and share information with a team of people, without flooding their inboxes.  People can access the data in multiple was, in a browser, in the Notes 8 sidebar, or via an RSS feed.  This approach also insures that the information is available to everyone, so if one person it out or not available the PMR does not come to a standstill. (not to mention tagged and searchable as well) So what does my Activity look like?  My Activity is in Connections R2 (currently in Beta but shipping soon), one of the new features in Activities in R2 is the ability to create sections within an Activity As seen here I have three sections, and the information seen here is in the template and populated in to each activity, as we continue to use activities for this process, we can add or remove content in template that I have found people to be looking for most often when working a PMR. A picture named M2 Finally, another new feature in Connections R2 makes this even easier, in Connections R1 there are different browser tools to add a link to Dogear, Communities, or Activities, so if you want to both Dogear something and add it to an Activity you have to do it twice.  In R2 you can now add something to and Activity and Dogear it at the same time.  So when your friendly Lotus support person sends you a great technote you want to save for later, you can add it to the Activity for current use, and Dogear it for later in one click as seen here, A picture named M3 Want more ideas on using Activities? You can download seven Activities Templates from the IBM Software Catalog, or check out Activity templates in the Lotus Greenhouse.

2 Responses to Using Activities to manage your IBM PMR's
  1. Keith Brooks
    June 5, 2008 | 10:08 pm

    Thanks Mitch, serves me right for putting off Connections till R2.

  2. Mac Guidera
    June 6, 2008 | 8:45 am

    Great idea. Thanks for sharing!