Projects

The Project Management Institute (PMI) defines a project as a “temporary endeavour undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result.” PMBOK® Guide, 5th edition. The sample of endeavours listed below certainly qualify as projects, as they were all unique and the activities required and the teams engaged to get results were all temporary.

The PMI defines ten Knowledge Areas involved in managing a project, such as Scope Management, Risk Management, and Stakeholder Management, to list three. While every project, by definition, will be different and therefore the focus or influence of each of the ten knowledge areas will also vary, each of the knowledge areas at least needs to be considered for its relevance and importance.

To summarise years of experience and 619-pages of PMBOK into a few sentences, of particular relevance has been project requirements as a component of Scope Management, Communications Management, and Stakeholder Management. For a project to have some hope of success, there must be agreement on what the requirements of the project are – “what are we trying to achieve, what is the result we are all after?” With the requirements established beyond doubt, they need to be communicated to all stakeholders.  And then, the needs and expectations of all stakeholders need to be managed, all the while juggling the other seven Knowledge Area balls as well.

Project:

Bus Depot Wi-Fi – Auckland Transport

The Challenges:
  • Installing IT cabinets and equipment into often already space-constrained environments.
  • Long lead-times on data circuits from network providers.
  • Lack of power circuits or available cable runs in preferred locations.
  • Ambitious deadlines.
  • Wi-Fi performance problems caused by Radio Frequency (RF) interference from Cellular towers.
  • Stakeholder and Vendor communications.
The Results: All IT infrastructure was installed on or before the respective milestones. The issue with RF interference plagued one site for an unacceptable amount of time, causing poor data download and upload performance for buses. However, the team showed great tenacity and resiliency and finally solved the issue, deploying the solution to all bus depots to solve the evident issues and to mitigate against future occurrences.

 

Project:

Ferry Terminal IT Infrastructure

The Challenges:
  • Electronic Ticketing was required at all Ferry Terminals as a part of the Auckland Transport Integrated Fares System (AIFS).
  • Installing IT cabinets and equipment into often already space-constrained environments.
  • Long lead-times on data circuits from network providers.
  • Ambitious deadlines.
  • A lack of attention to detail.
  • Loss of tacit knowledge through staff mobility.
  • Ambiguous communications.
  • Stakeholder and Vendor communications.
The Results: All IT infrastructure was installed on or before the respective milestones.

 

Project:

Britomart Train Station – Auckland Transport

The Challenges:
  • Modification of the core network.
  • The original network architecture had cascaded network switches, i.e., network switches connected in series. The risk was that a single network switch failure could cause all downstream network switches to fail as well.
  • Convert the network architecture into a hub-and-spoke design such that individual network switch failures do not impact other network switches.
  • Convert the network architecture without disrupting public transport.
  • Introduce new high-availability core network switches.
The Results: Two out-of-hours attempts were required; the first attempt had to be postponed as one vendor representative had not completed his company paperwork. The second attempt was successful with no impact to the travelling public.

 

Project:

UPS Selection – Auckland Transport

The Challenges:
  • Uninterruptable Power Supply (UPS) were required for Train Stations and Ferry Terminals.
  • Protect the IT infrastructure such as network routers and switches, as well as other devices such as CCTV cameras, digital video recorders, and Public Announcement systems.
  • The target environments were industrial, i.e., dusty, vibration prone, and with temperature extremes compared to the controlled environments of data centres for example.
The Results: Analysis determined that Emerson were the best vendor and had the best products. Further, modular systems were specified that had n+1 resiliency, could cope with future growth, and could be remotely monitored and controlled.

 

Project:

Customer Service Centres – Auckland Transport

The Challenges:
  • The milestones for the rollout of Customer Service Centres (CSC) were very challenging.
  • The CSCs were retrofitted into environments where they were not previously anticipated.
  • Obtaining data network services to meet the milestones, frequently where cables were difficult to run.
The Results: IT services were provided on time to meet the milestones – the CSC opening dates.

 

Project:

Ticket Point of Sale for Retailers – Auckland Transport

The Challenges:
  • Rollout ticket point of sale devices, called SRD – Simple Retailer Devices, to 52 retailers.
  • Install ADSL network devices into retailer outlets where every retailer was different.
  • Provide a standardised install solution for ease of monitoring and maintenance.
The Results: A very good vendor was chosen to conduct the onsite retail installs. The retailer demonstrated a very good can do and do it right the first time approach.

 

Project:

EDS Wi-Fi Access Points – Datacraft

The Challenges:
  • EDS was the prime services vendor for Fonterra.
  • For Fonterra, managed to completion the Nationwide 40 site replacement of approximately 430 legacy Wi-Fi Access Points.
  • Replacement of the Wi-Fi Access Points could not hold up Fonterra’s production activities.
  • A Wi-Fi handheld application-level problem was erroneously attributed to the new Wi-Fi Access Points. Due to the ‘black box’ nature of the Wi-Fi handheld devices and the application fault finding was difficult.
The Results: Apart from the faulty application, the rollout of devices went smoothly and without incident.

 

Project:

EDS Analogue Phone replacement – Datacraft

The Challenges:
  • Replaced at 10 sites nationwide, approximately 2000 analogue phones with IPT phones and conference system.
  • The project had been attempted and abandoned by others approximately 1-year beforehand.
  • The head office site in Wellington had approximately 800 analogue phones to be replaced.
The Results: Seamless and incident-free transition from the legacy analogue phone system to the IPT phone system.

 

Project:

Telecom DCX Replacement – Datacraft

The Challenges:
  • Managed the nationwide replacement of 285 CASE DCX multiplexers with CISCO 2811 Routers.
  • The DCX multiplexers were so far beyond their serviceability date that there was a risk that they would fail if powered off.
  • Working in old telephone exchanges across the country.
  • Configuring the CISCO Routers correctly and delivering them to the correct location in time for replacement.
  • Providing 100% remote backup support to the technicians performing the replacement in the event of issues.
The Results: Almost seamless and incident-free transition.

 

Project:

AMS Office and Server move – Maclean Computing

The Challenges:
  • Moved Advanced Metering Services (AMS) main office to new a building in Wellington.
  • Installed UPS.
  • Moved virtual servers from Auckland to Wellington.
  • Implementation of virtualised office and operational applications.
The Results: Almost seamless and incident-free move of equipment.

 

Project:

Telecom NFWMS – ECONZ

The Challenges:
  • Provide an interface application between the Field Force technicians and both the Open Up Time (OUT) and the National Test System (NTS) facilities which were part of Telecom’s National Faults Work Management System (NFWMS).
  • Different operating systems were in use, QNX, AIX, and Solaris.
  • Three separate servers needed to inter-communicate.
  • Configuration Management across multiple environments, i.e., Dev, Test, Pre-Prod, Prod, Emergency Bug Fix, and Y2K.
  • Stakeholder management of the multitude of contracting companies.
  • Provide advanced warning of issues, e.g., resource depletion such as disk capacity, via scripts sending messages to pagers.
The Results: Reliable performance from the application with advanced warning of issues from the monitoring scripts, resulting in near 100% availability.

 

Project:

CourierPost MCP – ECONZ

The Challenges:
  • Provide an interface between the various components of the Mobile Communications Platform (MCP), i.e., the mobile data terminals carried by Couriers, the CourierPost Depots, the Central CourierPost server in Carbine road Auckland, and the Track and Trace system in Wellington.
  • A major power outage in Auckland meant relocating the ECONZ development server and the CourierPost development Team to the CourierPost boardroom in Carbine road for weeks.
  • Nationwide internet was not well developed at the time.
  • Interfacing between multiple sites and applications.
  • Configuration Management across geographically dispersed sites.
  • Stakeholder management.
  • Being able to quickly and accurately determine the state of any courier transaction.
  • Provide advanced warning of issues, e.g., resource depletion such as disk capacity, via scripts sending messages to pagers.
The Results: Reliable performance from the System with advanced warning of issues from the monitoring scripts, resulting in near 100% availability.

 

Project/Role:

Database Administrator – Fisher & Paykel

The Challenges:
  • Maintain integrity of the Production Database.
  • Modify the Bill Of Materials Database to Production Database nightly data transfer to have error handling and rollback – previously failed regularly causing production outages.
The Results: Reliable database availability and performance.

 

Project:

Production Machine Programming – Fisher & Paykel

The Challenges:
  • Change to newer programmable controllers.
  • Change from old to new programmable controllers within 4-week factory shutdown maintenance periods.
  • Flexible software design to cater for modification.
  • Robust software design to cater for machine faults and variations in production machinery performance.
  • Fault-finding on production machines that comprised electric motors, pneumatics, hydraulics, sensors, and programmable controllers.
The Results: Fault-free software that ran reliably, increasing factory performance.

 

Comments, Questions, or Anything I Could Help With?

15 + 8 =