When Daniel Herman worked as a technical project manager for a former employer, the company was tapped to collaborate with an international fast-food giant. The client’s goal was to rebuild the client’s SSO platform with the employer’s successful mobile gaming program to provide users a seamless experience. To obtain this, application programming interface was incorporated to allow for scanning prize codes and redeeming through the app.
Herman’s team built mechanisms that invisibly linked the user from the mobile app to the gaming platform through auto authentication. As this project was initiated, the client was also in process of outsourcing its Information Technology management to a global provider.
Herman’s team, the IT provider, and the client were just the tip of the communication levels that needed to be involved during the project management. Managing communications across multiple time zones, work systems, languages, and various interpretations of deadlines made the overall project, like any using multiple managed services, an easy target for failure. That was not the experience fortunately and Herman chalks a lot of that up to clear communication between the client and the parties providing the services.
His experience can directly be tied to the fundamentals of managing services across all sectors, including telecommunications, mobility, and IT management. As enterprises consider outsourcing IT services, effective strategies must be implemented to manage the influx of outside technologies, processes, and procedures. Maintaining a seamless carryover in order to cause minimal disruption to everyday business is a high priority, Herman noted referring back to his experience.
“Their core business is serving customers food, not technology and development. It was our job to incorporate it,” he said. “It takes a lot of resources to implement these programs. They would have to maintain a staff of hundreds of people that don’t need to be engaged at all times on this project. The training that would be involved doesn’t beat a team with expertise who can be light years ahead in terms of speed.”
When looking back at his experience from the service side, Herman offers the following advice to those responsible for managing services for an enterprise and for those providing the service.
Top actions you would recommend when you’re a vendor working for a client:
- Ensure all vendors are clear on their roles and responsibilities at the outset of the project.
- Define delivery dates before the project begins and ensure quality standards are in place. Schedule regular check-ins with the vendor to ensure they are staying on track and address any risks before they cause project delays.
- Develop a clear understanding of the vendors’ capabilities, so that they are placed in a situation where they can succeed.
Effective strategies to manage project:
- Use an agile framework such as Scrum or Kanban instead of a traditional waterfall approach.
- Identify all stakeholders prior to project kickoff and ensure they are aligned with the scope.
- Set up a clear communication method such as Slack or an email listserv to ensure all project teammembers can collaborate effectively.
- Prepare for the unexpected by adding buffer time to the timeline before critical project milestones, since things rarely go exactly according to plan.
How to make technology programs work together/are compatible (if they have different systems, programs, software, etc.)?
- Ensure that systems are designed using standard application programming interface (API) methods such as REST By using industry standards, you can ensure applications will be able to share information with each other and reduce development costs.
- Thorough documentation must be developed and maintained for all proprietary systems to ensure a vendor can easily integrate with it.
- Design software to run in containers such as Docker so that it can be easily launched and scaled in the cloud.