Challenge: Manage a strategic alliance with two teams with radically different project management styles
Trillium’s client was actively engaged in a strategic alliance with one of the world’s largest telecommunications firms to help launch the telecom firm’s suite of high bandwidth fiber-optic digital TV, Internet service, and digital home phone service. This evolution in digital communication and entertainment would marry the powerful networking capabilities of the telecom company with the rich content, search engine, and e-mail capabilities of Trillium’s client for a truly integrated communications experience. Key integration points included links to our client’s e-mail and search engine services on the telecom company’s web site for their digital offerings. In turn, our client’s home page would feature links to the telecom company’s digital suite web site, as well as a link to the telecom company’s branded e-mail service. The goal was to give customers of both companies a very transparent and enhanced online experience.
However, the project was doomed to fail despite the great concept, high end technology, and expertise of the two strategic partners involved. The key challenge was getting the two development teams to work together in a coordinated, efficient manner. Each team came from a different corporate culture and had a distinctively different project management style. Using the waterfall project management style, the telecom company would ask our client to sign off on requirements 9-12 months ahead of time – something that was totally out of sync with the client’s agile development methodology. In addition, the teams could not reach a consensus on how they could integrate interfaces and test their disparate systems, increasing the risk of project failure.
As a result, the project continued to be threatened by missed deadlines and disagreements that ground development to a halt while money continued to be poured into the project. Leaders from both companies were ready to pull up stakes and abandon the project when management from the Internet communications provider called Trillium for help.
Trillium Solution: A new methodology to mitigate risk and encourage collaboration
Trillium Solutions Group leveraged its Value Builder Vendor Management framework to build a new project management methodology that both strategic partners could adapt without feeling completely compromised. First, Trillium consultants negotiated with the telecom company to modify its strict requirements management process. In turn, Trillium negotiated with the client to agree to adhere to certain milestones from the telecom company with the goal of mitigating project risk. That effort cleared the way for the client and the strategic partner to build out their separate systems for the integrated environment. Next, Trillium created a detailed technical mapping of the development and testing infrastructure to help track connectivity and re-connectivity during server rotations every three months.
Overall, the tools and techniques in the framework created by Trillium paved the way for the client to work more effectively with its telecom strategic partner.
Trillium achieved this collaboration and mitigated risk to the project in the following ways:
1.1 Built new project management processes agreeable to both partners
1.2 Created new issue resolution processes
1.3 Developed a new issue escalation process
1.4 Introduced new metrics and dashboards to monitor development and testing progress
1.5 Developed new approach to supporting and managing test infrastructure
In particular, Trillium used road mapping as a strategic piece of its new project management methodology. This approach helped the client and its strategic partner more clearly track their activities and progress from quarter to quarter – and ultimately facilitated communication and collaboration between the two teams. Results:
Trillium’s client and the telecom company were able to launch their joint project on time. The telecom company’s web site has since become one of the most popular destinations for consumers who want to take advantage of the convergence of digital TV, phone, and Internet. Over the years, both companies have continued to use the Trillium project management methodology to build upon and enhance their collaborative efforts with the goal of giving their customers an exceptional Web experience.
Trillium provided benefits to the client in the following ways:
2.1 Enabled a collaborative strategic partner relationship without making either company compromise its own culture
2.2 Taught teams how to integrate systems effectively to mitigate risk
2.3 Alleviated the anxiety and mistrust that threatened project completion
2.4 Created spirit of collaboration among hundreds of developers from both companies
2.5 Built a project management methodology that has become the framework for all projects moving forward for nearly a decade
Trillium’s client and the telecom company are preparing to collaborate on another strategic project. Using the Trillium project management framework, both development teams will once again be able to put corporate culture differences aside, marry their technology strengths, and deliver yet another successful project to enhance their customers’ online experience.
Trillium Solutions Group, Inc. is a professional services firm headquartered in Chicago that provides technology consulting and strategic sourcing services for industries such as trade associations, financial services, telecommunications, and healthcare. For more information, please visit www.trilliumsg.com.