Technology Project Management; A Key Component in Digital Transformation

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A large financial institution partnered with a Network Solutions firm (“the Firm”) on their digital transformation initiative. Digital transformation was a key part of the institution’s strategy to grow its digital footprint. The initiative included the build-out of a new data center facility (greenfield) and the upgrade of an existing data center facility (brownfield). The Firm racked, stacked and connected 182 switches to enable the platform to support new agile and ease-of-use applications allowing the institution to better manage customer investments.

 

The Challenge

A transformation effort of this magnitude required multiple vendors. Each vendor, including the Firm, had individual timelines to perform their activities. The integration of vendor timelines into one master schedule was multifaceted and daunting; and required advanced technical use of scheduling tools such as Microsoft Project (MSP). The first management challenge was integrating the individual timelines into a complex master schedule to account for task and activity management. The second challenge was identifying, capturing and monitoring project issues.  The financial institution’s project management office (PMO) managed the tracking of issues in an internal application, which was not assessible to external vendors. The third challenge was project communications to the external vendors. The financial institution’s PMO facilitated stakeholder communications but did not have suitable tools in place to manage the performance and milestones effectively.

The Firm’s engineers are highly-skilled at architecting and implementing solutions utilizing vast cross-platform integration expertise and unparalleled product knowledge. However, the Firm is not in the project management business.  To support a Fortune 500 customer with an enterprise PMO, the Firm needed assistance in providing equal expertise in this arena.

 

The Requirements

The Firm’s internal project management staff is experienced, however, the skillset and specific requirements for working with a large customer with complex integration called for additional assistance from professional project management consultants with a technology background.  The Firm needed a skilled resource who could collaborate with the financial institution’s PMO and adhere to their formal methodology. The Firm also expected a knowledgeable resource to assimilate internally and gain buy-in immediately with its detail-oriented engineering staff.

Upon evaluating the challenge and requirements, the Firm decided to engage an expert consultant who could:

  1. Elicit engineering tasks and activities needed to rack, stack and connect networking equipment in data centers.
  2. Develop and maintain the timeline of activities and track to closure.
  3. Assimilate the timeline into the master schedule.
  4. Collaborate with external vendors to identify and manage dependencies.
  5. Act as point of contact to the financial institution for the Firm’s status, risk and issue management.

 



The Solution

After researching potential options, the Firm turned to iSeek Solutions to address the engagement’s need for advanced project management expertise. iSeek provided a certified project management professional experienced in working with technical teams on complex, multi-vendor technology projects.

Michael Dale, a Senior Solutions Consultant at iSeek, was assigned to the role. Michael met the Firm’s background and experience requirements. Michael’s extensive knowledge, working 10+ years in information technology for financial institutions, contributed by showing value immediately.  Michael assisted by administering several advanced techniques in development and management of the project schedules including:

  • Redevelopment of the Firm’s MSP schedule to include major milestones, deliverables and tasks with relational links to customer and vendor predecessor and successor tasks
  • Collaboration with the financial institution’s PMO to create a streamlined structure and process for maintaining their detailed master schedule covering all vendors
  • Refinement of existing performance dashboards to align with major milestones and deliverables
  • Development of a method to track risks, issues and dependencies. The method was adopted by the financial institution’s PMO and used for all external vendors

The Results

iSeek assisted in effectively managing and controlling project scope for two of the Firm’s projects. Both projects were executed and delivered in tandem. iSeek’s contributions included establishing clear communication, along with tools and techniques to ensure work efforts remained aligned with the financial institution’s expectations and goals for each project.    

iSeek provided the Firm with a consistent flow of best practice ideas for improving the viability of project performance with a large client. Due to the expertise demonstrated, the financial institution noted Michael’s performance regarding schedule management and acknowledged his valuable support to the project.  iSeek met its client’s project management needs, but also went beyond by providing methods, tools and techniques that the financial institution adopted across the rest of the project.