Project Management for Centralized Installations
BY TINTU JOSEPH
In the domain of software products, there are many products whose project life cycles span months and sometimes years. This is true across domains be it aviation, banking and finance, telecom, etc.
Project management in an IT product environment revolves around the peculiarities of the product being deployed, the domain it fits into, and the location of deployment. This becomes complex when a product is installed as a centralized deployment catering to multiple users or user groups. Moreover, if the intended users and data to be processed tread multiple geographies or national boundaries, then the complexities multiply manifold.
In this article, I want to highlight certain areas that need to be accounted for and risks mitigated. The project manager has to ensure that the following are factored in the project planning and tracked to closure or mitigation:
Certain countries forbid customer and other sensitive data to leave national border.
With multiple user, user group, or regional data being present in a single system, sufficient checklists and restrictions at both storage, user, and reporting levels need to be put in place to ensure security and exclusivity as per requirements.
Political and cultural:
Mutually hostile or culturally disparate countries or regions may pose a stumbling block.
Even adjacent countries could have different primary or official languages due to historic and cultural reasons.
Multiple users or user groups could imply varied and perhaps conflicting requirements, which need to be clearly identified and resolved.
Along with standard timelines and efforts, additional efforts of integration, rollout, customization, etc. needs to be factored in.
If the scope is high or timelines long, then this needs to be broken down into phases depending on priority of requirements, user groups, or subset of both.
Scale of operations:
Certain users or regions may be signifi cantly bigger and therefore pose higher number of requirements in comparison to other users.
When users or data are spread across a wide area or converging to a central location, the network traffic, infrastructure, general connectivity, and uptimes must be factored in.
Multiple user groups would mean that the system has to cater to higher and increasing load, traffic parameters, etc. The system and the solution architecture should withstand enhancement in hardware, loads, users, or data increase and other incremental input and environmental parameters.
Considering scope, phased delivery, load conditions, etc., there needs to be a support plan that ensures a seamless handover and successful transition from project phase to ongoing support phase.
Appropriate licensing parameters need to be put in place to ensure that they are relevant and valid to the context.
Enhancements, which can be expected along the line, are product upgrades, planned migrations, and change requests. These eventualities need to be factored and planned for clearly and in advance considering the possibility that these may not be as straightforward as vanilla deployments
With the trend of mergers and acquisitions, increased global spread of organizations and even mutual sharing of resources and facilities, standardization, increasing operational effi ciency, and centralized command centers are becoming the new norm.
This in turn has driven the increased number of centralized installations. Therefore, it is essential that no effort be spared in the effective planning and rollout of these projects. The impact for better or worse is no longer confi ned to a single entity, and this is a strong case to raising awareness toward the opportunities and pitfalls that centralized installations may hold.
(Tintu Joseph is employed as a Delivery Project Manager for Subex Ltd., a leading Telecom BSS/OSS products company. He is a PMI member (PMI - 1871960) & during his career he has worked extensively with customers and clients across EMEA & APAC regions.)