Scrum Ways that Led to 3G iPhones

One spring day in the year 2002 Chicago’s AWS (AT&T Wireless Services) FSA One’s, OMC (Operations Management Center) was tasked to lead in the data migration project from the outdated reporting software to new.  Failure of the project would result in regional disruption of service for three states. This data dump to its upgrade followed the implementation of the 3G roll out in the prior year

The OMC quant data reports detail the activities of field operations. This includes its personnel, fleet information, switch and cell site locations and tower and cell site leasing agreements, RF Engineering data, and their relationship for three states. And most important the system transmits alerts to field operatives and management of potential issues. There’s a prescribed time limit to respond.  It was understood this regional updating would also be impactful to the NOC (National Operations Center) in Washington State.

Not only were we tasked with being the lead in this rollout, we had two weeks to formalize and test our work within the new untested software environments. With the help of NOC personnel and as project lead my focus and project description was to gather and migrate as much operational data as possible, into the new reporting system. I decided on a dry run deliverable within five days, understanding that predictable good outcomes were problematic.

This was post 9/11 and the new 3G footprint implementation environment. All these intended and unintended upheavals and company wide tensions high.

After four days of data migration, checking rechecking reports I left the Chicago OMC offices after initiating the new monitoring system.  We had six days before expected completion and I was fully prepared for fall out.

I was project lead… and had confidence in the hands of kind strangers…. the NOC techs.  They were the first to monitor for notification of any out of the ordinary alarms from cell sites or switches and the first line before escalation.

The wait was not long.

Two hours later found me shopping for a new personal phone when my AWS iPhone began to beep, that familiar tone that says a switch is having a hard time reading incoming data and we’re escalating in a few minutes.

Speeding down a busy Kennedy going north, night time highway lights flashing by and I’m taking agitated call after agitated call. The fixes resulted in late nights for all concerned. The morning reveal was this.

The solutions turned out to be small and fixable, simple manual data entry of omissions of contact data for a few field operatives…. contractors for cell site maintenance.

The early software runs had little or no impact on consumer service. Cell and switch alarm protocols set in place worked to suppress exposure to failure. The new reporting software captured the outer tendrils of the spider web of data.

By the morning of the great reveal we were eager to lean forward during the conference calls.  We participated in lively and productive coast to coast conversations centered around how the system worked, its flaws, and what to look forward to in the series of national rollouts to come.

Shorten timelines on deliverables helped to benchmark potential failures that included reports detailing the problems and subsequent fixes. The final rollout ran as smooth as glass.

Although the process was at times stressful, especially in moments of alarms and the confusion of gathering missing data. Protocols mimicking Scrum helped in ferreting out hidden worries and risks while offering ample opportunity to apply solutions.

And the NOC had full disclosure for production of procedural manuals in how and what to anticipate in future rollouts of reporting systems.

I look back on the days of pre-Scrum and now appreciate its principles. I wonder why it took so long to formalize these concepts into something coherent and usable across all industries. The Scrum process is important to building trust within lean project teams while developing confidence in reporting systems. Both are vital tools of Project Management.

My experiences during this project made living with 3G much more comfortable.

5 Ways Harvey Changes Content Relationships by Barbara Cerda

While Harvey continues to wreak its worse, content strategists will reassess current projects or repurpose their favorite marketing channels.

The Houston Texas catastrophic weather event has struck the nation’s heart and soul. In the midst of it all, it is still too early to guestimate the damage to infrastructures and lives. As a result, content project managers will arrive to new understandings about strategizing marketing.

Whether designing or managing content marketing projects. Or just updating promotional strategies for existing teams and projects….Harvey will alter the nature of how we expedite commerce and trade.

Houston is home to a large number of Fortune 500 companies. Most are energy related giants that supply goods and cross services to many industries, both global and domestic. From fuel to plastics to product yields from research labs, the loss of man-hours and productivity will be costly to some and an inconvenience to most.

1. Evolutions in commerce and trade will require changes in how content marketing teams strategize.

Businesses like retail giant Amazon depend upon integrated logistics. Unpredictable and lasting effects of Harvey will cause unseen challenges to smooth delivery of product and services. This will test the strength of their customer response teams. Communication will be their first line of defense.

2. Emphasis on the changing costs of rebuilding high-rises, roads, bridges, and highways will require content project leadership able to create easily understood reports and proposals.

As the concrete dries, civil engineers and city planners will come to a new understanding of how standing water and bacteria effects concrete structures. The demand for project managing content to explain and put into English proposals needful of explanation will be in demand.

3. Extreme weather changes and forced shutdowns will motivate changes in technology and virtual work forces.

Building digital bridges that connect content project management teams will become more needful. With an eye on how to lessen loss of time and revenue…employers will depend more of outsourcing and virtual talent.

4. Because of the phenomenon of standing sewer water, Fortune 500 companies in Texas will experience inordinate numbers of sick employees.

The emotional stress of loss will burden existing healthcare costs, loss of time and wages. Marketing budgets will suffer and content will have to deflect budgetary changes while still delivering great content.

5. And finally and this is most important. As the frequency and severity of hurricanes, continue so will the need to create global warming awareness content.

Companies desiring to present to the public their global warming awareness must also alter business practices. That will elicit an event where customers’ will increasingly depend on marketing channels or social media for its social news and communications.

7 Ways Forex can make a Difference in Managing Your Projects.

Forex the smart tool

If you think that Brexit outcomes will have little effect on small and/or midcap projects…consider this. Using Forex to forecast foreign currency behavior can keep managing costs of projects agile. Coping with the unforeseen or getting to know currency market unknowable(s) in an age where the global paradigm rewards anticipators of currency shifts, is smart. But ignoring market sentiment’s influence on currency punishes those who rely on the traditional quantitative malaise. Brexit stands as an example of how social outcomes are factors that can shift project costs.

1. Shadow banking influences 85% of daily loan activity and is a major participant in traditional short-term commercial paper trade. Currency rates fluctuate at any moment and influence financial market behavior. Whether an upscale clothing and accessories chain or a business that provisions global services. The price of renting money to meet daily operational cost and or fund a project may change in a heartbeat due to changes in global currencies and the interpretations of Forex trading. Phenomenon like Brexit will alter the behavior of shadow banking and its partnerships.

2. No matter the size of our project funds, the troubles of large global banking institutions, like Germany’s Deutsche Bank, can influence the availability and cost of preserving global liquidity.
There is anticipation of a Brexit led relocation of banks with the accompanying brain drain from the UK. It will have a ripple effect throughout local economies.

Contrary to current indicators of sustained economic growth, a recession will rear its head. A delimited pound will play itself out within the next year and will influence other global monies.

3. Realignment of trade agreements, influences of tariffs and the costs of imports play an important role in cost of supply. Will your supplier pass that additional cost down to you?

4. Even after finalization of the Article 50 agreement, the years of negotiating the messy divorce will and has diverted energy from the economy as it realigns trade agreements. Nervous businesses are already looking to reassert old trade agreements and create new ones inside and outside of the EU.

5. While the Brexit event has lowered pound value, making exports cheaper, supply side economics will soon slow the pace of good news markets.

Next to the US dollar and Euro, the pound is widely used globally as legal tender for goods and services. Sovereign currencies pegged to the Euro and the sterling will experience the slowing markets first. Costs to ongoing projects will be at the whim of changes in expenditures to supply and will influence demand.

6. In 2013, the EU had a population of 210 million making it the second most traded currency in the world. According to the IMF, the Eurozone has the second largest economy in the world. Because UK is a major trader within the single market, the Brexit will have implications to global monetary markets for generations. It would be pure folly to ignore Forex forecast of currency trends.

7. By reciprocal agreements with larger global banks and shadow institutions, all US banks have some exposure to European financial systems. Hedging rules apply. The further out to completion of project the heavier the risks to rate changes. Forex can alert project managers of changes in the fundamentals effecting rate changes.

Think about this. A sovereign’s coin is like a living organ that is reactive to any social or political irritant. While tracking hourly journals of Forex markets will not satisfy all of your quantitative efforts, it is an excellent bell weather of how foreign currencies may influence your project scope.

The science of Forex forecasting offers the advantages of anticipating trending costs over the life of a project. That keeps a Project Manager nimble. Consider this. Market sentiment will increasingly shift global monetary performance. As in the Brexit, which has forever changed how we anticipate human economic behavior and its influence on money.

Your Motivated Project Stakeholders and China

 

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“Know your enemy and know yourself and you can fight a hundred battles without disaster.” – Sun Tzu

With acknowledgement and deep appreciation for those economists that embrace the concepts of rolling oligarchies. We should note China as the biggest of players in these socio-economic systems. Her continued business growth and expansion within BRIC peers is unprecedented and stands as a reluctant model for how successful projects can emerge. Government controlled Chinese businesses enhance its GDP through wealth generators beyond their borders. They do this by practicing old proven methods of sound project management. As a project lead, your greatest enemy is mediocrity and failure to achieving benchmarks.

When China owns an intimate understanding of how a targeted government behaves in response to local socio-economic issues. It reveals that sovereign’s strengths and weaknesses. This opens the door for China to ensure future successes in business exploitation.

As a project manager when constructing a knowledge base of the external and internal dynamics, you track their affect on your targeted business niche. This keeps you ahead of competition and successfully meeting benchmarks. It is all in how you use this knowledge while anticipating your clients’ future business behavior. Capitalizing on those responses that lay hidden from casual observation is where China excels. This brand of business conduct offers an alert project manager a unique opportunity to shine.

If your client’s business is dependent on the availability and/or price of raw goods – become acquainted with their peripheral sources. Monitor market movements and be prepared to hedge any future agreements based on your expanding knowledge. Like all countries – every business houses strengths in natural resources and weaknesses in supply and demand. This is also useful in creating hedge opportunities when using trendsetter models and predictors.

China uses underdeveloped biodiverse hotspots as hedging tools for its global expansion needs. This type of commerce building, housed within struggling economies, serves as one of the best models to gain supremacy in the business of project management.

For example, a current Chinese project dictates an outcome of an integrated Southeast Asia, and continued growth of its influence in South African. These struggling economies find that Chinese businesses continued use of the Yuan fundamentally changes their country’s economics. The nations that compose Southeast Asia and South Africa are biodiverse hotspots and emerging markets. Use of China’s Yuan contributes to the devaluation of their domestic currency. China’s socio-political and local marketing strengths increase. They gain a captive and increasingly dependent audience of consumers.

Your growing list of successfully completed projects becomes by proxy your personal currency. In creating smooth transitions, debuts, generational upgrades your brand of project management usurps the competition, you create a captive customer base.

Grant Park Skyscape 2When leading small or large projects – a one-size fits all approach only lessen the chances of success. Worse, it creates a project manager that leads in mediocrity. Learning to read market fluctuations that are crucial to your client base creates in you “controller of data wealth”. This behavior captures the imagination of C suite policy makers.

If your client sells flat screen TVs then you should track market behavior of businesses that produce light emitting diodes. Go a step further and investigate chemical firms that drive the largest market share in synthesizing AMOLED (active-matrix organic light-emitting diode) a plastic formula used in trending technologies. The price of raw goods dictates bottom line health. Monitor global pricing and the regional geopolitics that affect production of raw goods.

Your ability to anticipate changes to supplier pricing and/or demographics will not only ensure successful project outcomes. It will offer you the opportunity to share information that may hamper your clients’ success in meeting its business obligations. You will find that motivated customers will repeatedly defer to your project leadership. More importantly, this knowledge defines you as a SME. Your portfolio of project leadership skills will grow diverse.

A mindset of diversification and knowing your market should be part of your business mission.

Knowing what drives and regulates your clients’ commerce is arguably one of the most important skills in keeping ahead and anticipating thereby creating a growing list of successfully completed projects.

While seemingly disparate, these anecdotes reveal a project lead model that mimics China’s modus operandi in realizing its global business ambitions. It is a commerce model in how to create captivated and motivated project stakeholders.