Talking Across Time Zones
Faced with the challenge of managing a project of this complexity and magnitude, Iron Mountain turned to Oracle Consulting to create and implement a global project management office (PMO) that would bring this multiphased, multimillion-dollar, multiyear project in on time and within budget.
"Our internal project managers engaged with Oracle Consulting to do a couple of important things: set up a global PMO and create a working project management governance model that would take us through all phases of the project," says Cognetta.
The first step was building the governing structure. "A PMO is required with any global implementation," says Paddy Padmanabhan, consulting project director with Oracle Consulting's Northeast Commercial practice. "With such scattered teams, it was vital to establish a structure for how reports were built and reviewed and to establish a reviewing process with Australia, New Zealand, and Brazil."
The program management governance model defined how the team assessed its progress on a weekly basis, how issues were addressed and resolved or escalated, and how changes were handled across the project.
In fact, the PMO built an inventory of communications tools and instructions on how to use them as part of the governance model. The group used a simple dashboard concept that provided a quick visual tool to assess both the current and forecasted progress. Sections within each project, such as business process workflows, project management, and application development, were characterized with green, yellow, or red signals, which let the team quickly know where potential trouble spots lay.
The team worked to build a detailed project plan that included every phase of the project, including a task to assimilate the lessons learned and knowledge capital from each go-live. "We developed a global implementation toolkit that is being leveraged for all the countries that Iron Mountain has and will eventually bring onto their global instance," says Denise Duncan, senior practice director with Oracle Consulting. This toolkit contains detailed project plans, implementation schedules, meeting inventories, test scenarios, technical specifications, and code, as well as the Iron Mountain global standard business processes, key business decisions, and configurations to be established across the world.
"The toolkit was created as a cookie-cutter approach, so the team doesn't need to start from scratch with each country," says Duncan. The team also had to develop global settings for issues such as tables within the system and how to convert invoices. "We had to make those global decisions at the outset. Once they are implemented in one country, you can't change them," says Duncan.
The PMO acted as the central point of coordination, passing on communications from teams that couldn't meet due to time zone differences. And with NAIO in Bangalore developing conversions and customizations, the Oracle On Demand team in Austin, and the implementation teams in each country, clear channels of communication were vital. "We had to have almost redundant meetings with recaps, because it was difficult to get everybody on the same call without it being in the middle of the night for somebody," says Cognetta.
To describe the process as complex is a major understatement. Once the infrastructure was in place, the team started using e-mail as a primary form of communication.