Case Study: Safety at Sea

27.06.2011 0

Challenge:

The Royal Australian Navy’s navigation equipment was in serious need. A ship had gone aground and on some vessels, navigation sensors had been around since World War II. The navigation charts they used, although accurate, needed to be augmented with other data from other sources.

They required a system to improve the safety and operations of their vessels. Any system would not do. This system would need to be integrated to existing sensors and planned future components, it needed to comply with international maritime navigational standards for electronic navigation, and it needed to meet 262 operational requirements with 100% accuracy.

 

Approach:

My job was to manage this entire project. I began by creating our response to each of the line items in the proposal. I outlined our approach to executing the requirements, and had to demonstrate to the internal authorities and the client that the project management plan was sound and that all risk factors would be sufficiently considered.

After contract negotiations were complete, I got to work organizing the team of staff and vendors. The project management plan I developed included a requirements matrix, so that at any given time, for any given requirement, I knew its status.

Along with development of the navigation system, I oversaw the creation of the standard operating procedures and training materials that would be in use during implementation of the system on each of the 54 platforms it would be installed.

 

Solution:

This project was scheduled to take 3 years to complete. On request from management, with two months notice, I was able to effectively coordinate all involved and we completed the project 5 months ahead of original schedule.

The developed product took the live feeds off of the ships’ sensors and presented them graphically – creating a real-time precision positioning of the vessel.

For each of the 262 line items that needed to be met, an independent naval authority validated that the system met compliance with 100% accuracy on the live system with live sensor feeds.

This system gave the Royal Australian Navy better understanding of their own home waters, and enabled their Hydrographic Service to validate new electronic charts.

Submarines also now had a real-time navigation system and operators had a means to visually understand complete 3-dimensional positioning of the vessel, which was unheard of up to that point.


Case Study: Mobile Media – Roving Reporters and iPhones

26.06.2011 0

Challenge:

How do you empower reporters in the field to deliver real-time video news stories?  Is it possible to cut costs for production, provide a desktop quality video editing application, and reliably send the completed content into the newsroom?  This was the challenge for VeriCorder Technology Inc.

This start-up company was founded to produce mobile journalist tools working on the iOS platform.  The company vision was to develop a sophisticated video-editing app that could send stories  that integrated to any newsroom system.  Stories produced by mobile journalists could then be viewed using traditional media or by using the Internet.

 

Approach:

I was brought into the organization to manage development of the product, build business process for quality assurance and customer engagement, and direct the deployment of the product into the field.

This was a new business venture, working on a new development platform, in an emerging market.  Risks were significant.  My focus was on creating an Agile development environment, and recruiting the best team to complete the work and support early customer adopters.

 

Solution:

The product is a media system developed over three phases:

  1. Applications working on iOS devices that can record, edit, and send content to specific targets.
  2. System Architecture utilizing cloud solutions.  iOS devices can be remotely configured and specific permissions are set for app users.
  3. IP based playout systems that transcode video and allow administrators to display the content of their choice.

Several patents were filed during the creation of the product and a system was deployed for the 2010 Winter Olympics.  CBC, BBC, Vista Radio, NewsBoss, Fanshawe College, and David Systems have utilized the system and commercialization efforts are ongoing.

 

Case Study: Don’t Steal my Baby

25.06.2011 0

 

Challenge:

Maternity hospital administrators worry that their most precious occupants are safe from predators.  They don’t want anyone to be able to take a baby and leave the hospital, at least not until they’re sure the baby is leaving with the right parents.

Care workers worry too.  They want the peace of mind of knowing that children won’t leave the ward but they don’t want a system that is hard to keep sanitized.  They want a system that’s reliable and doesn’t require significant training to know how to use.

 

Approach:

The company was launching a new system composed of proprietary hardware and software, improving on its previous designs of products for the Healthcare sector.  I managed the development and certification of new RFID devices, leading the software team on the development of a new version of its operating system, and planning for system implementation at hospital sites.

My approach captured customer requirements, reviewed additional feature upgrades and prepared design documentation for executive approval.  Once approval was made and the first prototypes were created, I obtained limited production runs for testing and certification.  After the design was confirmed and certified, I organized overseas manufacturing for the electronic components of the system.

I oversaw the testing of system software at our in-house lab and  final configuration before shipping.

 

Solution:

Part of the solution included the development of an RFID Tag that was designed to use the human body to interrupt its electric field.  This was a novel concept and allowed the tag to be miniaturized.

Systems were configured to prevent anything with a tag from passing through guarded exits.  Proximity sensors at the exit noted the presence of a tag alerting the nurse’s station and locked the doors.

The system evolved to also be used in long-term care facilities to help prevent wandering patients from leaving the building.

 

Case Study: Building Revenue

24.06.2011 0

Challenge:

An architectural hardware manufacturer and supplier had a branch location suffering from lack of revenue. New management had taken over the business and wanted to grow profitability in its Western Canada locations.

This 30 year old company was experiencing big problems with their Surrey, BC location. They were the lowest-performing branch in the company. Project delivery was inconsistent. They were not meeting project budgets, and demonstrated poor management of time and resources. The reputation of the company was suffering.

 

Approach:

I was brought in to identify the problems, design an approach, and implement new procedures where needed in order to turn business around.

I began by spending time in each of the employee roles to gain a solid understanding of how each group did their job. In many instances roles were not clearly identified and procedure and process were lacking. From the shop floor, to the project estimators, to inventory management – I ensured that I developed thorough knowledge of how each role currently functioned to identify the gaps.  I also managed several projects which helped to determine what type of tools and procedures would best benefit the business.

 

Solution:

I developed several processes that ensured accuracy, efficiency and maximum potential profitability. Implementing a PMO helped entrench these procedures and oversaw training for project staff.   I navigated a number of personalities, involving key team members to implement new processes to all staff for the location.

I put structure to the roles and tasks and coached employees and managers to function well within their jobs.  I championed a change management team and supported and trained change leaders where needed.  When implementing any new procedures, we assed opperational readiness before we transitioned. Formalizing a project change control process also brought success.

Within the first year, this under performing, money-losing branch turned a $50K profit. Employees were more satisfied in their clearly defined jobs, and the management team was extremely satisfied with the new direction for the location.

 

 

Case Study: I want to Build a School

24.06.2011 0

Challenge:

What do you do when you’re given $17.5 million dollars and asked to set up a new university endowment program?   There are a number of issues to navigate when you’re establishing a provincial program in forest research.

Deciding how funds will be distributed, setting limits, and ensuring accountability are significant challenges.

Applicants need equitable access to funds and information on how they can apply for them.  Determining eligible activities is important, as many competing interest groups want to participate in funding initiatives.

 

Approach:

The crown agency I was working for was asked to be the delivery agent for a new program to support new faculties at universities around British Columbia.

I was responsible for establishing the funding criteria.  This included defining what should be included in proposal contents, setting benchmarks for evaluation, and recruiting a committee of experts that would examine and determine which proposals would be funded.

I coached applicants on the process and on the contents of the proposals – matching funding requests with the program criteria.

I determined that frequent communication to all stakeholders would be the most beneficial activity I could do.  This kept all expectations focused on the program’s objectives

 

Solution:

I solicited subject matter experts from around North America to participate on the evaluation committee.  We toured each applicant’s facilities and then conducted two evaluation rounds, providing feedback on proposed programs.   Endowments were established in the areas of genetics, geosciences, ecology, and watershed research.

I managed the ongoing administration for the program, establishing processes for reporting, evaluating progress, making disbursements, and for the extension of research results.

 

 

Case Study: From Beta to Better.

21.06.2011 0

Challenge:

The US Coast Guard’s training program was obsolete.  The organization was about to upgrade 26 systems with new hardware technology and custom software.  User instructions on their computer-based training system had to change to reflect new ways to perform critical mission tasks, and new procedures for system maintenance had to be taught to fleet maintainers located all over the United States.

Their training school required advanced releases of software and hardware to prepare course curriculum and have the physical systems for hands-on training.  All components of the system had to be installed and integrated to existing simulators.

 

Approach:

I was brought in midstream and given the responsibility to manage the project.  I was asked by our product management department to see if I could align the project schedule and deliverables with the company’s road map for the system software.   I saw this as an opportunity to improve customer satisfaction and also build capability for our software product  – the Coast Guard could help define key software functions.

I proposed a Beta program to the Coast Guard, with regular release dates.  Feedback mechanisms were provided and internal and external champions were identified who would work together to create and signoff on the user interface for software functions.

 

Solution:

The approach provided advanced releases of system software that incorporated many new Coast Guard feature sets.  However, even with improved functionality the delivery schedule was shortened as was the time frame for developing new curriculum.  This also resulted in a more sophisticated product for my organization making it more attractive to other customers.

With an improved schedule for course material, the client was able to free up resources to evaluate the hardware deliverable.  Signoff on system documentation, and MTBF and MTTR calculations was easily achieved.