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

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

projects. a certain number of basic research projects are running in product-oriented organisation. R. In accordance with this organisation. other projects are carried out according to the matrix model. in which a sufficient number of right ideas generated on time and which launch an adequate number of projects for implementing ideas.it is also possible that one performer collaborates on several projects. the project organisation model is called composite organisation. entrepreneurial orientation of the team play an important role at Iskratel. are able to survive in competition race. and that we are in a position to obligatorily service and upgrade them tomorrow. 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. According to W. project scope or the application domain required by the target customers . In moving towards development project objectives. Duncan. introduction of state-of-the-art technologies. The main characteristics of development project management at Iskratel are: • A large number of parallel projects 3 . innovativeness. only the companies. 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. flexibility. Successful implementation of projects is indispensable for establishing the key factors of the company's competitive advantage.

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

1 Procedure After Starting a New Project When at a PC's request a decision has been made to develop a new product.• Training and synchronising the team The development of an innovative. 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. The Primavera Project Planner tools were selected for planning and monitoring the projects. 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. parallel project management. Its activities are indispensable for planning new projects. This provided us with optimum utilisation of resources and better adhering to time schedules. 3. 5 . The project office prepares the new project simulation and thus supplies the project and functional managers with adequate data needed for precise planning. on which the performers may record preparatory activities for the project. the functional managers conclude an agreement with the project managers on deadlines and time investment. By using the simulation. For each sector. The new project start is marked with the B50 milestone and the model project plan is entered in the database. a new account is opened in the financial system. 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. for smooth progress of projects and for qualitative monitoring project implementation. The project office was established after introduction of new tools. Primavera Progress Reporter is intended for all the performers collaborating on the projects to periodically report on a regular basis. at which the project is approved by signing the resource requirements form (RR form). 3 PROJECT MANAGEMENT METHODOLOGY AT ISKRATEL The complexity of planning. A project is formally started with a kick off meeting (B100 milestone). only one time-limited activity is opened. The project objective was introduction of information support for planning and monitoring the projects.

the project office task is primarily to prepare periodical reports (weekly.In special forms. All important reports are also displayed on the Intranet project pages and on the single sectors Intranet. The project manager is responsible for the plan entry control. This enables the personnel responsible for the projects to take adequate measures to correct critical paths of projects.3 Project Completion After completing the project. If necessary. The project office provides the regular project meetings with the reports on critical milestones and activities. the project office corrects the projects. sector managers prepare a detailed allocation of work according to performers. all the activities linked to the project are closed in the project database. monthly) and to provide all the participants in the development process (product and project managers. At the same time. 3. 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 . on the basis of which the project office enters the real plan in the database. Figure 2: A sample of the sector RR form 3. sector and group heads and project coordinators and performers) with up-to-the-minute data.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).

4 Problems in Introduction of New Methodology In introducing new methodology.1 Primavera Progress Reporter Progress Reporter is an Intranet application (JAVA applet). which is used by all participants in the development process for weekly reports on actual project work and non- 7 . 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. much work on a new project was done prior to signing the RR form. which means that performers were working on unplanned activities. • Delayed reaching of the B100 milestone In single sectors.3. monthly) PROJECT PLAN PRIMAVERA PROJECT PLANNER MEASURES PROJECT TRACKING CRITICAL PATHS Figure 3: Diagram of using Primavera tools 4. 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. 4 USE OF STANDARD PRIMAVERA TOOLS RESOURCES ACTUAL WORK PRIMAVERA PROGRESS REPORTER RESOURCE SALARY CALCULATION REPORTS (weekly. therefore it lacked credibility when negotiations for new projects were in progress.

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

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

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

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