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Telekomunikacijski sistemi, d.o.o, Kranj Ljubljanska c. 24a, 4000 Kranj, Slovenia Tel.

: +386 4 207 2829, Fax: +386 4 202 1525 http://www.iskratel.si

METHODOLOGY OF COMPLEX PROJECT MANAGEMENT IN ISKRATEL
Brane Križnar, Majda Stojsavljevič, Iskratel, d.o.o. Kranj, Ljubljanska cesta 24a, 4000 Kranj, Slovenia e-mail: b.kriznar@iskratel.si, Stojsavljevic@iskratel.si

ABSTRACT

Iskratel is a Slovenian company which produces telecommunication systems and delivers services. The development of new products is becoming increasingly complex; this is why our company felt compelled to implement new methodology of project management supported with appropriate tools. The article describes the role of project management and supporting activities of project office in our development process. Particular emphasis is being placed on implementing the work on projects, running in parallel.

KEY TERMS

Multiproject Environment Project Management Methodology Project Office Development Project

INTRODUCTION

Iskratel is a company, which succeeded in strengthening its position on the global telecommunications market during the critical years of economic recession. The company even increased its market share. For the first time in the company history, we have sold 1

and which is not expected to generate extra profit. it provides project development ordered by profit centres. and management software development. the company can satisfy their needs and look for new market opportunities and business partners. product strategy management and obligation to monitor the entire financial flows of each single product. ordered by profit centre managers and approved by the product boards of business units. managed by the project management manager. By selling them to its customers. we are engaged in producing and marketing telecommunications systems and services for IP and TDM networks. for turnover and cost control. Through project managers. In order to be successful on the market today and to daringly plan competitiveness and an increase in turnover also in the future.depending on the functional similarity of the 2 . In Iskratel. The new generation of telecommunications is based on the IP technology. whose services are utilised by all profit centres. These colleagues work in various sectors within the research and development department. financing plan management. Profit centres are relatively autonomous entities responsible for their product profitability. Development engineers work in research and development sectors managed by functional managers.more than a million ports. 1 RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT ORGANISATION WITHIN ISKRATEL The product diversification requires adequate organisational support. The business units are organised in profit centres (PC) that are responsible for specific product portfolio or target customers. there are more than 200 highly specialised associates participating in developing new products. The project managers who ensure optimum project progress are organised within research and development in the sector of project management. Their tasks are: sales budget management. New product development is proceeding within the research and development department in a form of projects. In order to sell successfully on the global market of convergence networks. 20 % of the revenues are appropriated by the company for the development of the comprehensive collection of price competitive and state-of-the-art products. applications software development. It is called New Generation Network (NGN). The company is building its product strategy in accordance with the trends of the new information infrastructure that is developing towards integration of all the existing networks and upgrades with new IP technologies. the product diversification strategy is needed with a comprehensive collection of products that are interesting and competitive on the market. Within the framework of the development process. Research and development (R&D) is organized within BU as a department of common relevance. They are responsible for the development of certain functional assemblies such as: hardware development. This impressive result has been achieved thanks to the high technology products. Iskratel is organised in business units (BU) that are responsible for the development of single product lines. system software development. communications protocol development. As it is normal that one project manager manages several projects . clear product vision and ongoing strategic investments are needed.

are able to survive in competition race. Successful implementation of projects is indispensable for establishing the key factors of the company's competitive advantage. entrepreneurial orientation of the team play an important role at Iskratel.it is also possible that one performer collaborates on several projects. other projects are carried out according to the matrix model. According to W. introduction of state-of-the-art technologies. project scope or the application domain required by the target customers . the project organisation model is called composite organisation. and that we are in a position to obligatorily service and upgrade them tomorrow. Duncan.projects. It is important that we are able to offer a customer highly technologically advanced products on time and that the products meet all his expectations and needs. C E h x e i e f c u t i v e F M u a n n c t i o n a Fl u n c t i o n a Fl u n c t i o n a M l a n a g e a g e r M a n a g e r M a n a g e Pr r o j e c t M r a o n S S S t a t a t a f f f f f f S S S t a t a t a f f f f f f S S S t a t a t a f f f f f f P P P r o r o r o j e j e j e c t c t c t M M M Project B Coordination Figure 1: Composite organisation model Project A Coordination 2 PROJECT MANAGEMENT DEVELOPMENT PHASES CHARACTERISTICS IN PROJECT Nowadays. In moving towards development project objectives. flexibility. only the companies. The main characteristics of development project management at Iskratel are: • A large number of parallel projects 3 . innovativeness. R. in which a sufficient number of right ideas generated on time and which launch an adequate number of projects for implementing ideas. a certain number of basic research projects are running in product-oriented organisation. In accordance with this organisation.

Performers collaborating on more than one project Involvment of the same resources on more than one project is necessary because of the high specialisation of performers. In parallel with it. technological and maintenance projects. Unplanned projects Sometimes there are projects that need to be inserted between the planned and approved projects due to the sales activities. Diversity of projects Thematically and technologically. broadband access.g. centralised management node. where up to 40 man-years are planned and 100 or even more performers collaborate in the course of a project cycle. but reduces the costs at the same time. IP access nodes. on which 5 to 10 performers collaborate. Remedy of critical defects in operation has absolute priority. there are highly diverse projects. obligations to customers and because of the wish for market broadening. Problems in precise planning of development activities Disturbances caused by critical defects elimination in servicing the products and unpredictable trouble having arisen due to imperfection of new technologies make the planning rather difficult. a delay in project implementation. This enhances the risk of implementing the projects. public telephone exchanges. a generic project can be carried out. for whom there is no immediate replacement without specialising new associates in this particular sphere of activity. 4 • • • • • • • . Frequently changed priorities The project priorities may change due to the current project status. exchanges for special networks. 2 to 3 technologically-oriented projects. market-oriented. Maintenance projects We are obliged to promptly and qualitatively service all the products sold and put into operation at a customer's place. service centres. • Complexity of projects There are generic. IP terminal equipment. The quantity of planned work and the number of the performers needed greatly differ from project to project depending on the type of the project. several maintenance projects and usually at least one generic research project. because we develop entirely different products. We may carry out a small-scale project with less than one man-year. market situation and obligations to customers. Highly specialised performers Since thematically and technologically there is a large collection of our products. etc.The following projects may run in the research and development department: up to 15 market-oriented projects. PTSN and ISDN access nodes. the performers employed in functionally organized departments are highly specialised experts. e.

The Primavera Project Planner tools were selected for planning and monitoring the projects. The project office was established after introduction of new tools. a new account is opened in the financial system. Primavera Progress Reporter is intended for all the performers collaborating on the projects to periodically report on a regular basis. only one time-limited activity is opened. for smooth progress of projects and for qualitative monitoring project implementation. The new project start is marked with the B50 milestone and the model project plan is entered in the database. the functional managers conclude an agreement with the project managers on deadlines and time investment. we ascertain the new project impact on the progress of other projects and prepare a plan of measures that will be taken for prevention of delays in the current projects. This office offers logistical support to project managers.• Training and synchronising the team The development of an innovative. This provided us with optimum utilisation of resources and better adhering to time schedules. technologically advanced product requires investments in new skills and the preceding target training of the project team members in order to provide a good project start and thus enhance success. At the B100 milestone. and management of optimum allocation of human resources in multiproject environment are the factors that have prompted the decision to start renovation of project management methodology. on which the performers may record preparatory activities for the project. A project is formally started with a kick off meeting (B100 milestone). The project office prepares the new project simulation and thus supplies the project and functional managers with adequate data needed for precise planning.1 Procedure After Starting a New Project When at a PC's request a decision has been made to develop a new product. For each sector. at which the project is approved by signing the resource requirements form (RR form). 5 . Its activities are indispensable for planning new projects. 3. The project objective was introduction of information support for planning and monitoring the projects. 3 PROJECT MANAGEMENT METHODOLOGY AT ISKRATEL The complexity of planning. By using the simulation. parallel project management.

on the basis of which the project office enters the real plan in the database. The project office provides the regular project meetings with the reports on critical milestones and activities. project maintenance activities are opened for the warranty period that lasts from 3 to 12 months with the total amount of 10% of the formerly planned development work 6 . Figure 2: A sample of the sector RR form 3. the project office task is primarily to prepare periodical reports (weekly. All important reports are also displayed on the Intranet project pages and on the single sectors Intranet. sector managers prepare a detailed allocation of work according to performers.3 Project Completion After completing the project. all the activities linked to the project are closed in the project database. If necessary. 3. This enables the personnel responsible for the projects to take adequate measures to correct critical paths of projects.2 Development Project Phases For the duration of the development project from B100 (the signing of the RR form) to B600 (the putting of the product into trial operation). The project manager is responsible for the plan entry control. At the same time. monthly) and to provide all the participants in the development process (product and project managers. the project office corrects the projects. sector and group heads and project coordinators and performers) with up-to-the-minute data.In special forms.

4 USE OF STANDARD PRIMAVERA TOOLS RESOURCES ACTUAL WORK PRIMAVERA PROGRESS REPORTER RESOURCE SALARY CALCULATION REPORTS (weekly. much work on a new project was done prior to signing the RR form. according to the plan they should have been free but in reality they were overburdened • Inappropriate simulation of new projects: The simulation was setting new projects in unreal time schedule. therefore it lacked credibility when negotiations for new projects were in progress. the following problems have been detected: • Coordination of plans It has been rather difficult to reach a harmonized decision on changing the existing plans and priorities. which is used by all participants in the development process for weekly reports on actual project work and non- 7 . • Delayed reaching of the B100 milestone In single sectors.1 Primavera Progress Reporter Progress Reporter is an Intranet application (JAVA applet). monthly) PROJECT PLAN PRIMAVERA PROJECT PLANNER MEASURES PROJECT TRACKING CRITICAL PATHS Figure 3: Diagram of using Primavera tools 4.3.4 Problems in Introduction of New Methodology In introducing new methodology. which means that performers were working on unplanned activities.

2 Primavera Project Planner (P3e) 8 . Then one sends this report to ones superior for approval. All the activities planned for a particular period of time are on display to each participant on weekly basis. the data are transferred to the project database as implementation on single project activities. each performer arranges his/her working hours according to his/her activities.project activities. After the weekly reports have been approved. When filling in the weekly report. Figure 4: Timesheet in Progress Reporter 4.

Figure 5: Project structure with GANTT diagram We have two-level mode of approving the actual work implemented. It has been achieved by introducing the world-famous tools for planning and for methodological upgrading the process. We have also worked out an application for additional viewing and approving the joint implementation on single projects. LITERATURE USED William R. the reports on critical paths on projects are available to all functional and project managers. By means of the P3e tools. The performers may now compare the quantity of hours in their weekly reports with the hours recorded in the system for recording the working time. (2001) Project Manager’s Reference Manual 9 . After the project office has transferred the data from weekly reports to the project database. Through these approaches. which brings us to the desired objective within the projected time. we are aware that our project management model is not perfect and that it requires continuous perfecting. Project managers. In Excel several reports have been prepared. and / or to the product that can be manufactured. the approaches to project management are also being modified. that is repeatable. Moreover it has to be adapted to the new needs of the market economy. They need this information for filling in weekly reports. Project managers may monthly monitor the actual work. however. recorded by performers on their projects. 4. We have created an application that enables performers to have online access to the data from the system for recording the working time.3 Our Own Upgrades for Project Monitoring Support It was necessary to develop some additional tools for a link with the existing information system in order to increase effective project monitoring. we provide reliable and monitored development project management. the heads of groups review and approve (or reject) the reports written by their associates. CONCLUSION The project management of product development stages has achieved great progress at Iskratel lately. approve monthly implemented work on their projects. modular and competitive. At Iskratel.Duncan (1996): A guide to the Project Management: PMI Primavera Systems. The time needed for development of a new product is becoming increasingly shorter. by means of which the project office provides the persons in charge of the development process with complex information. In parallel with this trend. which is constantly being perfected. Inc.

Meško J. Iskratel Pučko-Frey M.Pučko-Frey M.. (2001): Working with Primavera P3e Application in RD SI2000 10 . (2000): Rules of Procedure in the Development Sphere of Activity. Kranj.