Project management: A case study of TELUS.

Project Management


TELUS communication is a Canadian based company that provides several communication products as well as services across Canada. As such the company carries out several small scale and large scale projects within Canada. A project by definition is a temporary effort to establish a unique product or service and last for a specific time period. This discussion thus highlights various project management elements with respect to TELUS communication.

Project governance at TELUS communications

Project governance is the process of guiding and monitoring organization activities and finally converting venture decisions into assets for the business. Project governance is not a new concept to TELUS as it has been common in most of its projects. Project management can be viewed as division of corporate governance which deals with project activities like project sponsorship, project planning, program management, project efficiency, disclosure and all the activities related to corporate governance within a project.

Project governance is thus a structure that is used to put in place the project objectives, providing means of attaining the project objectives and setting the procedure for monitoring performance of the project. To ensure that project objectives are aligned with the portfolio as well as company objectives, TELUS communications always assigns a project governance team to spearhead projects right from project inception, implementing the project according to specifications and ensuring their sustainability after deployment.

Identification of project management structure

For telecommunication projects, identification of appropriate management structure is crucial for successful implementation of the project goals and objectives. The management structure provides an interaction between people within the company, and outlines responsibilities and accountability structure. TELUS communications considers several factors are when identifying appropriate project management structure in its projects.

Nature of the project and the context is one of the factors considered. For instance complex, high value or risky projects are given a governance structure that address this particular issues ensuring that the project runs smoothly. Furthermore some projects that are non-routine and of higher risk often get support from the project governance framework. This is normally in the form of expert support, regular project governance checks and support from expert consultation groups. TELUS also has gone a notch higher by establishing project governance structures basing on the project size, limitations and complexity.

Another factor that TELUS considers is having reliable stakeholders on every project. For projects with multiple stakeholders, a governance structure that provides judgment and addresses the involvement and nature of the parties involved in the project is created. Small projects with few stakeholders and defined scope normally allow for overlap of the structure and roles to minimize cost. However large projects such as those undertaken by TELUS require close monitoring, control and oversight. TELUS thus establishes governance structures that create accountability and responsibility in the project to ensure success and achieve the set project milestone.

Furthermore, the project roles and responsibilities within TELUS projects such as the one aimed at extending its communications infrastructure were assigned throughout the project lifecycle to guarantee project efficiency and success. This way of assigning tasks boosts the morale of the project team making them feel supported by the project governance team especially in complex situations. TELUS has also over time set clear responsibilities in governing of projects to enable the project governing body to efficiently develop timelines for the project activities. In some situations project deliverables have become unclear and vague due to poor definition of roles and responsibilities in projects.

TELUS has achieved productivity due to assigning roles and responsibilities to project teams according to member strengths. Persons good with gathering requirements are not overwhelmed with responsibilities regarding management or infrastructure set up. Furthermore this has also boosted the success rate in TELUS communication projects regarding budget and timeline allocated to projects. This underscores the criticality of consultations before roles assignments to capture the expectation and needs of the project members. This can be done through brain storming with the project management members in presence of all the project members.

Establishment of project governance arrangements

TELUS communications established project governance arrangements to meet project requirements such as accountability and adherence to the allocated budget.  Accountability in a project is a source of success, however it demands allocation or reliable resources to realize it. TELUS communications uses project governance arrangements to ensure accountability on project team leaders or persons tasked with specific project activities.

To create a separation between the project governance and the organization governance, TELUS ensures that its project governance arrangements are comprehensively defined. The advantage of separation of the project and organization governance ensures that all the activities that are carried out within a project are done independently although under the organization framework to ensure that projects remain within schedule.

In some projects TELUS uses project governance arrangements to guarantee separation of project decision making processes and stakeholder management. This ensures that the team undertaking are project are not disrupted with issues from stakeholders as a different team dedicates itself to handling issues emerging from stakeholders..

How TELUS communicates with project stakeholders

Keeping the stakeholders informed is an integral aspect in project management. Although various communication methods and techniques exist, developing better communication skills, using templates for project communications and infrastructure are effective ways of satisfying the project related stakeholder’s needs. TELUS communication therefore provides training to the project communication team through seminars. TELUS also uses project templates and guidelines to ensure effective communication. Lastly TELUS communication identifies appropriate communication infrastructure such as fax, websites and telephones to help it meet the needs of the stakeholders.

To ensure that the project stakeholders understand the TELUS corporate governance requirements as well as assigned governance roles and responsibilities, the company uses various methods such as formal and informal communication methods. The project management team organizes meetings with the stakeholders to deliberate on the company’s corporate governance requirements to enable the stakeholders get a glimpse of what the project entails.

In some situations, TELUS reaches out to its project stakeholders through newsletters and electronic mails. Nevertheless, the choice of a communication model is dependent upon it effectiveness for the intended purpose. Informal communication can also be used including Bathroom and Hallway conversations, Lunch Meetings, Sporting events and Voice mail.

Negotiating with stakeholders

In successfully managing a project handling stakeholders is among the biggest complexities especially when project shareholders have conflicting interests. TELUS communication employs various tools to manage stakeholders. TELUS always acknowledges that stakeholders agree to participate in projects due to specific interests. Therefore to satisfactorily convince them that their interests have been factored in, the project manager has to extensively demonstrate how that has been achieved. It must be noted that every stakeholder has motives, perception and concern that must be addressed in order to convince them. Hence the more the stakeholders, the tougher to manage them.

TELUS thus constantly seek approvals from stakeholders on every milestone before proceeding. This guarantees project security as disagreements will not arise when the final version is delivered. The other vital strategy used by TELUS to negotiate with stakeholders is identifying key stakeholders then discuss ideas with them prior to meeting other stakeholders. The secret behind wining stakeholders is wining the key stakeholder and letting the other stakeholders follow him.

Resolving project conflicts

A conflict occurs when individuals have different feelings, perceptions, interests and needs and feel like they are about to or are losing something they value. This elements can include material and immaterial possession such as ideas, ideals, aspirations and standards. During project lifecycles conflicts are bound to occur it may be through allocation or roles and responsibilities or between the project steering team heads. In such cases the individuals may be willing to quit being part of certain projects or come to agreements through simple negotiations. However, in some cased they may fail to come to agreement requiring the interventions of the project manager or mediation from project team members who are not party to the conflict.

In situations where conflicting roles, responsibilities and authorities occur TELUS communication advocates that the project manager should become aware of their own interest and be open minded bearing in mind that they could either be right or wrong. In case the conflict is between the project members, the company recommends that project managers should take the role of a mediator hence he/she must listen to the arguments and conduct him/herself as expected of respected meditator. As a mediator do not blame or defend any of the conflicting individuals. In some cases, it is necessary to carry out isolated negations where the mediator meets the different conflicting individual separately before bringing them together to deliberate on their source of conflicts.

Therefore TELUS communications Inc. trains project managers on understanding causes of conflict in projects as well as possible avenues to lasting solutions. The most important solution to conflict mostly involve proper communication in order to strike a balance on the matter of concern. Other dire solutions to project conflict may involve reviewing the entire project team and taking out members who constantly bring conflicts to avoid jeopardizing the entire project. Above all it is important to regularly review roles, responsibilities and authorities to ensure that there are no loopholes for conflict.

Monitoring and review

Monitoring and review is an important component of the project life cycle that enables evaluation of project activities success. Hence during planning the project should spell out specific success indicators that will be used to gauge the progress of the project at a certain intervals. TELUS in a bid to effectively monitor and review project activities, undertakes several activities such as constant reporting, progress evaluation and periodical reviews.

All activities of a project are also reported to the relevant people in charge. For example information on activities involving cell tower construction are directed to the manager under cell tower construction. TELUS also evaluates project deliverables on regular basis and compared to the timelines set out during the planning phase. The success of projects is tracked through evaluation to ensure that all the unsuccessful areas and requirements are corrected to enable success in the final version of the project.

Management of project scope and changes

In a normal project lifecycles, change in the scope are bound to happen and there must be a defined way to deal and regulate such occurrences. A project scope includes planning, controlling, controlling and handing over. The project scope provides a foundation project management, it simply outlines what the project should cover. To ensure the success of a project, there is need to carry it out according to what was defined in the project scope, though in some cases there is some room to make minor changes depending on the target environment. TELUS communications is very strict on project scope due to its impact on critical aspects such as budget and timelines.

Before the inception of any project, the project team identifies and documents the extent of the change on the scope that will be tolerated for example it could be a change to a functional requirement or to the project budget. In this phase the impact of the change is also looked into and validated. The project team then formulates responses to all proposed changes. Which involve identification of the change effect on components such as schedule, technical design, and implementation plan. TELUS delegate’s approval of any such changes to the project sponsor, the project manager and main project stakeholders. On approval of the scope changes request, the project manager then notifies the project team to carry out the necessary updates or changes.

Schedule management

Schedule management is a process of creating and maintaining a project schedule. For TELUS, a schedule management plan has information pertaining the project sponsor, milestones, control and monitoring, deadlines, activities as well as project approval. Every activity must be completed within the set time as well as with allocated resources. Any delays could potentially affect the project delivery or functional requirements.

To assess the effectiveness of the schedule, an evaluation of project milestones is carried out after the completion of each task. TELUS does this periodically after the completion of every major task. Milestones are then compared to activities on the project schedule to ascertain if the given timelines were met. Any activities that are behind schedule show that there is a poor management of time which may be due to limitations such as death or sickness of a project team member, curfews or civil unrests among others. TELUS also involves all stakeholders in quality management. This interaction ensures cooperation within the entire project management activities as well as everybody participating. TELUS in some cases provides mentorship programs to train employees on aspects such as quality management and schedule management. These mentorships are carried out inform of seminars, and role models.

Quality management

This ensures that a quality end product is delivered. Through quality assurance, activities that foster quality are defined and documented. Furthermore, a quality criteria that covers all quantifiable standards, metrics and specification ensures quality requirements. TELUS also uses quality control in project deliverables testing and evaluation to guarantee quality. A project life cycle basically involves four phases, initiation, planning, implementation and deployment.

TELUS communications Inc. evaluates the effectiveness of quality management processes and procedures in the implementation phase. This involves reviewing all the steps of the project process to determine the extent to which the management is competent. In this stage of implementation the reviewer will be able to identify the strength and weakness of the management in their process and procedures in time (Rose, 2005). This information collected can be used to improve the condition of the future management before the project end however if the review is carried out at the initiation or planning phase  there are no evidence or indicators that can be used to qualify this.  Review at the final stage will not help the project in improving any of the output since al will be done therefore the information will be irrelevant.

TELUS communications Inc. is definitely a communications giant in Canada thus carries out several projects. Project management is integral to the success of all these projects. Basing on the information discussed above, TELUS has enforced many project management elements in a bid to spearhead its projects. To a larger extent it has adopted close to all elements of project management despite a few areas that need improvement. TELUS sis therefore a role model to other industries with regard to the management of large projects both internally and globally.

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