If you’ve ever changed service providers for your personal phone, you know that the process can be disruptive and almost always has unforeseen consequences down the line. Imagine then the challenges organizations face when they want to migrate their entire organization’s telecommunications network from one provider to another. We’re going to explore this process in detail and discuss how to mitigate any risks that might arise in the process by executing the migration using an effective telecom project planning and management approach.
Pareto’s 80/20 Rule
Before initiating the migration, it’s important for the project management team to recognize and plan for what is known as Pareto’s Principle in project management. The 80/20 rule relative to network migration refers to the fact that in any set of project tasks, the first 10% and the last 10% of tasks will generally consume 80% of the team’s time and resources, and account for roughly 80% of the potential risks of the entire project. As such, the combined 20% of tasks at the start of the migration and the end of the migration process should be the project team’s primary focus.
The Top Five Risks Experienced During Network Migration
With Pareto’s Principle firmly in mind, we can now explore the various risks throughout the migration process and how a telecom project manager would work to mitigate these risks.
A migration project can reveal any number of facilities issues, but the most disruptive are Wiring/Cabling and Building Access. If existing configurations in the network’s wiring and cabling are unknown or poorly documented, this can delay the process significantly. Similarly, securing the proper access credentials and proof of insurance ahead of time for the project team will prevent any issues with accessing the building that could delay the process.
Carrier Order Verifications
The carrier order process is vital for keeping the project timelines on track, but the process is prone to human error from initiation to completion. It’s vital that the telecom project planning and management process dedicates the necessary eyes-on to catch any missed information or incorrectly keyed data. Unforeseen facilities issues can bleed over into this category as well, as carrier orders might not take into account office space or missing network facilities assumed to be in place. Eyes on means such disruptive issues can be identified and escalated with sufficient turn around time to prevent delays down the line.
One of the most common sources of issues in a network migration, equipment issues can manifest in out of the box failures, incompatible configurations between pieces of equipment, or incorrect settings relative to the network being migrated. Proper planning for the pretesting of equipment and deployment of qualified and experienced migration assistance is key to success.
Since you’re being provided with signaling, configurations, and IP’s by carriers or vendors unfamiliar with your network, it’s crucial to double back across the new configuration to ensure parity between what you’ve been assigned and what’s been configured into the equipment by the network team. It’s good practice to also make sure special configurations that were requested on the order actually made their way into the build, and did the carrier meet the Quality of Service requested? Making sure templates match up prior to network cutover will save headaches across the board.
Network Cutover Issues
Migrating a network is a highly technical process and any number of issues can occur when the time comes to switch over. If the contact onsite is not knowledgeable or reliable, it’s necessary that a technical contact is brought in to assist. All involved parties should dial into a dedicated project conference bridge, so that anyone with a hand in pulling off the project without a hitch are on the same page during the network cutover.
We Know Our Way Around Telecom
Telecom project planning and management is a field that requires skilled planning and extensive knowledge of a myriad of loosely related disciplines. At TelResource, we don’t expect our clients to be experts in the field of telecom project management. However, with more than 20 years of experience meeting the telecom management needs of the San Antonio Texas business community, our clients can absolutely expect us to provide knowledgeable telecom support for any of their project management needs.