Now that the business case has been defined, we want to know the organization of the team members for this specific project. Depending on the existing organizational structure, your corporation may already have these roles defined. However, the descriptions and functions of the team members are worthy of review to see if any adjustments need to be made to your existing infrastructure.
:Information Services Installation Team
The project plan specifies a number of resources that may be utilized deploying Windows NT Server in your corporate environment. The size of your specific team may be different, depending on the size and the speed of the upgrade process. Based upon deployment teams in corporate environments, the following types of resources are specified in the project plan. In smaller environments some may be consolidated to one person. Conversely, in very large or fast-moving installations, a specific person's responsibilities may be divided among multiple persons to achieve the goal in the necessary time frame. Some of the jobs may be accomplished by temporary personnel. The disadvantage of temporary employees is that they may depart at any time, but the benefit is that you have the option to retain temporary employees. Experience indicates that it is best to build a sharp team early and train them well. If hiring consultants, allow contracts to have review periods where their performance can be reviewed and the contract extended if desired.
Key strengths/skills: leadership, planning, project management, communication
The Project Coordinator role is the most critical position for the success of the team and the project. Although the project coordinator does not need to have an in-depth understanding of the technical details, this person must have a working knowledge of the applications and the Windows® platform in order to understand problem issues, etc. The coordinator must understand the corporate computing strategy and have close working relationships with counterparts in the MIS, network and communications areas. Overall, the Project Coordinator must be a highly motivated leader that can employ effective interpersonal communication skills and must be able to make changes quickly.
Communication is a critical skill for the Project Coordinator Assistant (PCA). Intra-workgroup communication and organization play key roles in the success of the PCA. The PCA is the backup to the Project Coordinator, and knows the schedules, priority and open issues being handled by the Project Coordinator. In addition, the PCA must be able to communicate to the workgroup leaders the overall project vision, as well as where Windows NT Server and the server applications will be installed. The PCA is the foreign affairs ambassador carrying the corporate computing strategy forward to the masses.
Project Evaluation Lead
Key strengths/skills: advanced product knowledge, understanding of end-user computing needs
The Product Evaluation Lead is responsible for assuring that any new software or hardware products are compatible with the supported software platform(s). Product knowledge is essential for the Project Evaluation Lead. There is no substitute for knowing how Windows NT Server works, and how the corporate computing environment stresses the server and the server applications. Typically this person is a former product support lead or consultant who has an intimate knowledge of the various workgroups in the company and their computing needs. The Project Evaluation Lead should have a current working knowledge of all of the networking and communication software as well as the variety of hardware platforms. The opinions of the evaluation lead must be respected by upper management, else the product evaluation cycle serves no purpose. The evaluation lead needs to work closely with the other leads and software vendor representatives to help resolve outstanding pre-installation issues.
Project Test Lead
Key strengths/skills: Methodical, determined, Microsoft Test, or Visual Basic programming experience
The Project Test lead is responsible for assuring that Windows NT Server is compatible with the existing hardware platform. If new corporate standards need to be considered, such as network card addresses, interrupt settings, DMA channels, etc., the Project Test Lead is responsible for submitting recommendations to the standards committee for approval. In contrast to the Product Evaluation Lead, the Project Test Lead is responsible for post-installation issues and for resolving problems on the supported platforms. Typically, this person might have previous experience in the network helpdesk area or in the pre-configuration of hardware or Windows NT Server. The test lead needs to work closely with hardware vendors and the other leads to resolve outstanding issues.
Project Network/Communication Lead
Key strengths/skills: Network and communication experience to match corporate environment
Most corporate computing environments have an array of network and communication requirements. Keeping abreast of networking technology, networking software, and communication software is a very time-intensive process. Of the lead positions, the network and communication position is the more technically challenging. The network and communication lead is responsible for testing and evaluating the specific requirements of new hardware and software platforms, including network traffic estimates and worst-case considerations. In addition, the network and communications lead is responsible for testing performance configurations when considering server-based applications and designing the corporate standard for server-based applications software. The network and communication lead, therefore, must be a very team-oriented player who is technically adept and effective at communicating ideas and concerns. In very large environments, the networking and communication responsibilities are broken out into separate positions.
The Project Network/Communication Lead should know the following technologies, (optional technologies in parentheses):
The crossover from a technical discussion of product features to the end-user tasks can be a challenging undertaking. The Project Training Lead must have excellent teaching skills, be very familiar with Windows NT Server, and have advanced troubleshooting skills. A typical background for the training lead might include Windows NT Server product support experience, or previous training experience with a network reseller or network vendor. Effective product training has a direct impact on the number of product support phone calls received by the helpdesk.
The Project Support Lead is on-loan from the corporate support organization. This person is involved in the decision-making process for corporate deployments, but also represents the support organization for issues that will affect the supportability of the Windows NT Server deployment. As the Project Installation Technicians initially handle the support issues, they communicate the list of reports and open issues to the Project Support Lead to help prepare the corporate support organization.
Once the deployment is complete, the Project Support Lead can return to the appropriate sponsor group.
Project Evaluation Tech 1
Key skills: Advanced Windows NT Server experience, patience, understanding of end-user techniques
The Project Evaluation Technician is the server application tester for the Windows NT Server platform. This person is responsible for implementing and managing the test plan, development of new testing suites, and identification of weak areas in the product testing. The evaluation technician must be very well organized and have excellent written communication skills. The evaluation technician installs and tests software from the beta programs through the acceptance of the software to the supported platform. The evaluation technician will communicate with the Training Lead to provide technical product details as needed for end-user training. Feature requests and software product comparisons may be additional responsibilities for the evaluation technician. An evaluation technician may be an entry-level position straight from college with Windows NT Server certification, or an experienced technical end-user or test technician with Windows NT Server certification.
The Project Test Technician is the post-installation troubleshooter for the server platform. Responsibilities include: problem solving, bug tracking, resolution and/or escalation of outstanding issues. The test technician develops a detailed understanding of the end-user computing environment, and may work closely with the evaluation technician on competitive product analysis or create future product recommendations. The primary responsibility of the test technician is to solve the day-to-day problems encountered by the end-user community, and develop solutions and/or workarounds to these issues. The test technician must have excellent communication skills, both written and verbal.
Project Net/Com Tech 1
Key skills: solid basic understanding of network and communication troubleshooting
It is difficult to find an entry-level person with advanced network and communication experience. That being the case, the key is to find a technically adept person with great potential. Networking and communication related issues require a detailed understanding of many aspects of the computing environment. The network/communication technician must be able to assimilate information and draw conclusions based on technical understanding and experience. In contrast to technical ability, the reality of network-related problems is that testing methodology is very important, with great attention to detail, as file attributes, timing, and software versions can be the difference between a reproducible problem and a random event.
Installation Team Lead
Key skills: organization, attention to detail, planning, effective communication
The Installation Team Lead (ITL) position is very demanding, requiring a person with great organization and planning skills as the project plan requires the development of detailed technical instructions. Although not required to be a technical expert, the installation lead should have reasonable computing experience and be able to understand common server terms and technology. The most important skills are focused upon organization and planning. After all of the planning, testing and business-related project plans are executed, it is absolutely essential that the installation instructions are well organized with great attention to detail. The ITL should have solid leadership skills, and have confidence in the ability to meet goals and follow-through. This person can be an outside consultant, but will need to work closely with the team leads and workgroup representatives to understand workgroup-specific issues, being sensitive to the interruption of the normal work environment.
Installation Techs 1-3
Key skills: solid technical understanding of PCs, Windows NT Server experience, excellent troubleshooters
The installation technicians are where the plans meet reality. If the plans call for speedy installation and implementation of the server platform, make sure that the technicians exhibit the same capabilities. Due to the temporary nature of the deployment process, many corporate environments hire temporary installation technicians from their network resellers with great success. However, not all of the technicians provided by the reseller may be at the same technical level. It is best to set a very high bar for experience and ability. Unfortunately, you may get some very talented personnel, and some not-so-talented. Do not accept temporary employees below your expectations. In the near term, the installations will not be performed correctly, requiring the use of the best technicians to “fix” the bad installations and slowing the installation process to a crawl. The experience of previous installations has been nearly identical: the best success was obtained by only continuing engagements with productive employees.
The general rule-of-thumb for installation technicians is two years of Windows NT Server end-user experience, or 1 year of technical experience on Windows NT Server. Additionally, a minimum of one year of hardware experience in identifying hardware failures or conflicts (understanding of interrupts, I/O addresses, disk controller failures etc.) is highly desirable.
Identify the Sub-team Members
Now that the overall team members have been identified, we need smaller working teams to address specific project issues that do not require the overall working team.
The Planning Team is led by the Project Coordinator, who has all of the project leads as members. This team works on all of the project plans, project reviews, and has regular status meetings to evaluate their progress to schedule and to resolve outstanding project issues.
This team is led by the Project Evaluation Lead, and has the Test, and Net/Com leads, as well as the evaluation technician, as members. The evaluation team meets to update the progress of the evaluation testing, review the list of outstanding problems, and resolve bugs. The Evaluation Team is also the point of contact for vendors who are proposing new applications for evaluation.
The Project Installation Lead oversees the Deployment Team, consisting of the Test, Net/Com, and Support leads, as well as the installation technicians. As the Windows NT Server configuration is moved out of the Evaluation Team, the Deployment Team picks up the product and server applications. As the rollout process scales up, the Deployment Team will grow, and include the lead installation technicians to report on the status of the rollout, and any outstanding issues.
The Training Team is led by the Project Training Lead, and has the Support Lead and Installation Lead as members. All of the training materials need to be reviewed by the Installation and Support Leads to check for accuracy and make sure that all of the details regarding the configuration are correct. The lead installation technicians can also be involved to review any training material for training the installation technicians.
The Support Team is led by the Project Support Lead, having the Installation Lead, Training Lead, and the lead Installation Technicians as members. The Support Team becomes active once the installation process is underway, and works to identify outstanding issues and potential solutions and/or workarounds. The Support Team then provides this information back to the normal corporate support teams to prepare them for the transition once the deployment is completed.
Milestone I: Review Preparation and Approve Planning Phase
With the mission statement, business case, and proposed list of resources for the project defined, you will want to bring this outline project plan up for peer review to make sure the presentation is all in order. After making any desired changes, a formal presentation with the Standards committee should be made, with the request for approval of the existing work, and approval for Phase II.