Deep kamalsingh

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1. Strategic approach to ascertain accurate decisions after unplanned service outage in Telecom operations Submitted to PMI National Conference 2013 Author: Deep Kamal Singh 2. Table of Contents 1. ABSTRACT .................................................................................................................................................3 2. KEYWORDS................................................................................................................................................3 3. INTRODUCTION.........................................................................................................................................4 3.1. OBJECTIVE OF THE RESEARCH AND PAPER................................................................................6 4. THE CONCEPT...........................................................................................................................................6 5. CASE STUDY..............................................................................................................................................8 5.1. CASE STUDY: ACTIVITY DESCRIPTION...........................................................................................8 5.2. CASE STUDY: ACTIVITY EXECUTION.............................................................................................12 5.3. KEY OBSERVATION AND LEARNING DRAWN FROM THE EVENT...........................................12 6. EVOLUTION OF THE STRATEGIC APPROACH .................................................................................14 6.1. IDENTIFYING ACTIVITY PHASES WHERE THINGS CAN GO WRONG ......................................14 6.1.1. PLANNING PHASE..........................................................................................................................15 6.1.2. EXECUTING PHASE AND MAINTENANCE PHASE...................................................................17 7. CONCLUSION ..........................................................................................................................................19 Table of Figures Figure-1: Phases of activity.......................................................................................................14 Figure-2: Strategic approach to ascertain accurate decisions after unplanned service outage..19 Tables Table 1 Technical Teams involved in activity........................................................................... 9 Table 2 Case Study: Activity timelines and major milestones.................................................11 Table 3 Sample Service Impact matrix...................................................................................16 3. 1. Abstract After 50 years and four generations of mobile technology, subject matter experts have fashioned standard operating procedures of all activities that are executed in ever improving telecom ecosystem, however system failures still happen leaving no operator untouched by unforeseen outages impacting services of end subscriber. With an objective to define effective action plan that should be followed under unplanned service outages a team of project managers were formed. The team was involved in planning and execution phase of various activities in a mobile network. The ideas and learning were exchanged between technical managers and other PMs of all involved teams. The team adopted qualitative and interpretive approach to consolidate steps for resolving the crisis in least possible time minimizing revenue loss. Based on the erudition a general action plan was formulated following which stakeholders can take best decisions during service outages in telecom operations. Currently practiced recovery approaches are native to specific domain or subsystem of a service industry, there is a lack of commonly applicable practice for taking right decision in any service outage. Thus this paper is an initiative to construct standard action plan applicable to overall telecom ecosystem which should be referred by Project managers and apex decision makers when sudden unexpected outages and service down time occur in otherwise well-functioning environment. Albeit this paper is authored upon explorations of activities in telecom network operations, but the guidelines and underlying approach concluded in this paper can be referred by any service industry in case of unplanned outages. 2. Keywords Risk planning, minimizing uncertainty, revenue loss control, decision making 4. 3. Introduction Telecommunication ecosystem in itself is varying and ever improving industry. For reasons like business growth, technology implementation, adaptability, innovation, cost control etc there are endless upgrades, tune ups and additions that keep on happening in the network system, for same reasons there are regular set of activities planned and executed, ranging from a small node level change to a complete subsystem replacement or introduction of a new setup altogether. Continuous changes in the ecosystem subjects the network and business to risks of service outages and revenue impacts, To ensure business continuity and to keep revenue impact to a minimum its a necessary practice by technical teams to plan and prepare step wise execution plan before every change that further gets reviewed and approved by all relevant stakeholders. Often the activity involves implementation of changes that affect various services which in turn requires several tech-teams to align, coordinate and prepare their action steps in sync with other for the execution of activity. In such scenarios when any unexpected and unplanned variation occurs, it becomes paramount to define next course of action keeping actual need and impact to business in calculations. In these cases, it is most required to be well informed and equipped with all technical and business critical information altogether in order to quickly assess not only all possible decision but also to ascertain which decision will lead to lowest cost to business and keep revenue impact to minimum. Activity managers and technical specialists are well qualified experts in their field, they can easily work out and deduce key planning factors like steps of execution, detailed activity plan, estimate outages etc, up to certain level they can also highlight the risks and probable phases where an unplanned service outage might occur during course of complete activity, however its neither their domain nor their expertise to analyze and predict business impact in terms of revenue when an unplanned outage is experienced, On the other hand business driving functions like sales and marketing, revenue assurance, customer services and similar domains are always well equipped with analytical data and information which makes them expert for accurate calculation of revenue inflow from a live service, thus these functional domains can estimate impact to business in terms of revenue when a service is down. However they lack technical insight to understand risk factors involved in a planned activity, neither can they predict which service is more prone to get disrupted compared to other nor they are aware about the overhead cost to business in case of delay or cancellation of the activity. When an unplanned service outage occurs during a complex activity it becomes increasingly difficult to derive to a best decision because of gap in domain boundaries between various teams involved and also because of unavailability of some kind of cross reference matrix which can help to adjudge quickly whether to go ahead, delay or roll back the activity. 5. Thus it is identified here that activity owners must compile a reference approach with all necessary analysis well before the activity which should be followed in case of unexpected downtimes or service outages. This paper is an initiative to establish a common reference approach which can be referred in case of unexpected outages during a planned activity to reach to an appropriate decision that will ensure least cost to business. 6. 3.1.Objective of the research and Paper To establish whether a methodical approach and standard operating procedure can be formulated which when followed in event of unplanned and unexpected service outage will ensure that best possible decision is taken in least time. 4. The Concept As briefed in above section the regular activities in telecom domain require planned outages of live services, for every activity the involved technical managers perform diligent analysis and prepare activity steps with documents covering step wise execution in great detail. The services which should implement changes at respective end due to the activity are also required to plan accordingly. Thus different technical teams owning each service also prepare set of activity steps at their own part and Project manager of activity then collates the execution plan to prepare a combined set of steps with team name and ownership assigned against each step, this document gets signed off and approved from all the stakeholders so that everyone stays informed of the downtimes and the service outages involved along with stepwise execution planned in sequence and in parallel across all services. However when an unexpected outage occurs during an activity execution or if some set of services are not functioning properly after any step then it becomes first priority to decide next step, technical teams get engulfed in finding out root cause and then solutions, where as pa