BT is one of the world’s leading communications services companies, serving the needs of customers in the UK and in more than 170 countries worldwide. BT’s main activities are the provision of fixed-line services, broadband, mobile and TV products and services as well as networked IT services.
BT was spending £10 billion for the 21CN programs representing a significant investment in business transformation. The program scope covers all lines of business: Retail, Wholesale, Global Services and Open Reach in addition to all three potential revenue sources, Product, Service and Network. In essence, the 21CN program represents the future of BT and is therefore critical to business performance.
The Network infrastructure rollout was the most advanced of the three potential revenue sources. Several years in progress, the first migration of customer lines to 21CN had already begun in South Wales. Both the systems and product streams were earlier in development since they could not function until the backbone was in place. All three areas of transformation offer significant opportunities for beneficial leverage in the redundancy of costly older technologies. Further significant revenue opportunities exist to leverage newer fiber optic technologies satisfying corporate and consumer demand for faster, more content rich products and services.
There was considerable concern by senior management that progress was slowing and that there was significant risk with the current approach. Based on this and other fears, BT asked Ten Six to perform a complete review of the program.
Ten Six Approach
The Ten Six team conducted a detailed assessment to determine the current situation and confirm the program’s strategic goals and objectives. We reviewed the capabilities of the existing systems, maturity of the processes and the degree to which they had been adopted.
The initial analysis was performed via interviews with individuals and groups depending on role. In addition, Ten Six reviewed client artifacts that were being used to plan and manage BT’s project/programs. Further analysis and the development of recommendations was carried out by access to systems, existing processes and clarification with the original interviewees.
The Ten Six team divided the work and focused on the following areas:
- Roles & Responsibilities: formal existence, use, appropriateness to process
- Training: formal requirements, availability, attendance, integration between tools, process and practice
- Tool Expertise: level of proficiency, understanding/consistent application to process
- Project Management: level of expertise, practice, discipline
Analyze and report on the efficacy of the project management life-cycle. In particular:
- Project Initiation: identifying a sponsor, appointing the project manager, building the project team and having a project brief
- Developing the Scope of Work: methods and techniques in use, how it is documented, responsibility assignment, subcontracting
- Budget Planning: creation of budgets, integration/relationship to work scope and accounting
- Resourcing: applied to project plans, cross project analysis, capacity planning and management
- Schedule Development: use of milestones, constraint dates, inter-dependencies, estimation, existence of model reuse, consistent practice, baseline development.
- Actual & Progress Updates: frequency, level of progress objectivity, source of actual costs, times booking, forecasting, sub-contract integration, accounts reconciliation, separation of concerns between cost and progress updates
- Risk and Issues: identification, management, escalation
- Reporting: ad-hoc and formal period reporting, status
- Controlling: analysis, change management
We also analyzed the existing systems capability in place supporting the program including the following:
- Tools: inventory, end-user capabilities available and used, integration capability and potential
- Process Support: assessed tool ability to support processes, and where they are used
- Integration: assessed level of integration and flow of data between tools
- Reporting: assessed reporting capability of tools
We also looked for ways to adapt the current situation to provide greater consistency and clarity of program information for decision making.
The results of the assessment identified work packages to increase the maturity of the 21CN Program Control Systems. Ten Six recommended a rationalizing of the program into a coherent entity. We found risk, partly because it crossed numerous lines of business and partly because the scope had evolved over time. It was recognized that a more robust approach to the management and control of the program would benefit the business and mitigate the risks.
Specifically, our deliverables included:
- Report summarizing findings – We provided a report of our findings and recommendations for near, medium and long term implementation.
- Recommendations for near-term initiatives – This included a brief statement of purpose, advantage and measurement for each recommendation. An appropriate level of detail to implement the recommendation was also provided.
- People – We provided an overview of existing skills, experience and project management knowledge.
- Tool Inventory – We provided a briefing for each tool in use, capability provided, capability used, and the estimated number of users. It included a high-level System Architecture map. We also recommended the rationalization of tools where more than one type was in use.
- Process Map and Artifacts – We provided an inventory of who used what artifact to support the project management process. How difficult/time consuming they were to produce and the potential for automation. We included variations between the different parts of the business and identified the best practices available.
After reviewing our recommendations, BT then engaged the Ten Six team to help implement the changes required for organizational performance improvement. Attention focused on people, process and systems helped drive the necessary standards and fiscal accuracy to exert appropriate levels of control.