Project managers in the telecommunications industry are said to be facing tough times. Intense competition among operators is forcing companies to change strategies and goals, desperately seek competitive advantage (new technologies, services and products) and shorten time-to-market. This means sudden shifts in strategy, and changes in project scope, constraints and project milestones.
The complexities and interdependencies between systems, combined with budget compression, led to several cycles of rework aimed at finalizing project scope and requirements, preventing project managers from completing project management plans about comprehensive impact analysis and effort assessment. Corporate changes, mergers and acquisitions, union, reorganizations and business unit dissolutions caused by crises and financial shortfalls make up the whole picture.
In this volatile environment, driving successful projects requires flexibility, a future-oriented attitude and proficiency in advanced project management methods. Therefore, project managers in the telecommunications industry should combine traditional and expert skills such as change management, stakeholder satisfaction, virtual team management, scheduling, and cost reduction. Effective communication is essential to ensure alignment among all stakeholders and teams, as well as to monitor early warning of issues and/or changes to the program. Cultural differences, geographic distances and different stakeholder needs are also taken into account. A strong risk management process and strategy development and review meetings at short intervals throughout the project are also required. This means constantly challenging and validating assumptions, while developing multiple scenarios for reducing the impact of changes.
Scope and Requirement Management
8Manage PM centralizes scope and requirement management, provides requirement requests to capture, filter, clarify and validate requirements as well as offers requirement matrices to process requirements and track their progress from inception to completion. 8Manage PM Reality Check function can be used to detect scope communication issues and demand instability issues. Requirement review and acceptance are tracked automatically, and requirement changes must go through a rigorous change control process.
8Manage PM also provides a real-time display component for analyzing and displaying requirement management information.
8Manage PM automatically tracks the time and progress of each project activity and deliverable. Lower-level activities and deliverables percentages of completion are automatically aggregated into higher-level activities. Overdue activities and deliverables are flagged, and SMS alerts are sent to affected stakeholders. The system always tracks the originally planned time, the latest planned time and the actual completion time, highlighting the differences.
8Manage PM tracks multiple baselines (versions) of the project schedule.
8Manage PM provides comprehensive revenue, cost budgeting and tracking capabilities at the activity and project levels. It can track project revenue through sales orders and contracts, and project costs through timesheets, expenses, purchase orders, invoices and payments.
8Manage PM provides the following project accounting functions:
- Project-defined cost classification linked to the chart of accounts
- Automatic calculation of revenue based on sales orders and contracts
- Automatic generation of customer invoices based on payment terms in orders and contracts
8Manage PM’s Quality Metrics functionality supports project managers to set measurement goals and evaluate the quality of incremental and final deliverables. The system also allows project managers to set different rules, and to review and approve quality control during deliverable creation and finalization.
8Manage PM’s Reality Check function can be used to detect process issues and deliverable quality issues, and a real-time overview can be used to effectively publicize quality indicators, audits and approvals, reality check information in real time, so that quality issues and results can be seen by everyone as early as possible.
To facilitate project communication, 8Manage PM automates the following:
- Alerts and notifications
- Generation and delivery of weekly project reports
- Discussion forum
8Manage PM supports iterative review and acceptance of deliverables, and short-term iterative requirements in the communication process to solve complex problems. The system facilitates structured communication, provides real-time information, and encourages teams to make informed decisions.
8Manage PM’s most powerful communication tool is data agility and precision, which helps to drastically reduce project communication errors, enhance teamwork and increase efficiency.
8Manage PM provides functions to search for, request, allocate and track resources across multiple sites, internal groups, projects and activities. It also provides advanced resource management functions, such as project-defined resource roles and balance.
8Manage PM resource management features include:
- Automatically search for resources across websites and internal groups based on skills and availability
- Facilitate and track resource provisioning, allocation and usage
- Automate cost estimation and budgeting with resource allocation
- Compare planned and actual use of resources
- Automatically detect resource overload and shortage
8Manage PM offers rich resource planning and usage reports for analyzing resource supply, resource allocation and actual usage at the deliverable, activity and project levels.
8Manage PM automatically detects the schedule, cost, resource and quality risks of the system and the impact of these factors, and extrapolates the final impact from the existing impact. If the risk is not properly managed, people can see the magnitude of the losses
8Manage PM also provides a complete and unified risk register to record user-identified risks and track risks from start to finish. In the risk register, each risk is categorized and assessed by the probability of occurrence and impact before and after the exact action is taken, so people can easily understand the effect of risk response actions.
8Manage PM supports e-supplier management, e-tendering and e-procurement at campaign and project levels. The bidding and purchasing process is rule-driven, and its security and integrity are well-controlled by the system. For procurement, 8Manage PM supports purchase requests, purchase orders, invoice and payment management, as well as contracting, subcontracting and outsourcing.
8Manage PM supports project-based procurement. Large and complex procurement tasks can be projects that contain various purchasing activities. Procurement information will be aggregated according to the project work breakdown structure (WBS) and planned progress, and resources and dependencies can be managed with project management procedures.
8Manage PM allows users to raise, assign, respond to, track, escalate and close issues at the activity and project level, and supports the linkage of issues with risks, change requests and actions. 8Manage PM provides problem maps and supports users to traverse the linkage around problems. Escalated issues will be marked in red and the person being escalated must inform the escalated issue that has been received. Questions raised in low-level activities are automatically aggregated into high-level activities and projects.
8Manage PM’s Change Request function supports users to record and manage changes. Each change request contains the following information:
- Discovered in
- Work order
During changes to the project WBS structure, change requests are available to record change information, and change impact information will be permanently associated with the change request. When people need to find out the change impact of a specific change request or group of change requests, they can enter the change request number in the system and the system will provide the change impact information.
In a telecommunications environment, project managers often need to work with different organizations such as stakeholder agencies, project team agencies, suppliers and subcontractors, and government and media agencies. 8Manage PM lays the foundation for individual and group coordination and interaction, and its main collaborative functions are described below:
- Project-oriented functional organization management
- Common language for application, submission, delivery and acceptance
- Coordination and management of internal groups, committees and sites
- Coordination and management of customers, partners and suppliers
- Inter-group communication and escalation management
8Manage PM provides the following overview for communicating status, identifying issues and tracking necessary actions:
- General overview
- Cost overview
- Overview of stage information
- Resource overview
- Dependency overview
- Deliverable overview
- Risk overview
- Overview of requirements changes
- Reality check overview
- Overview of key measures and comparisons
8Manage PM also provides various real-time display components for viewing projects, document libraries, alerts, orders, purchase orders, change requests, etc.