In recent years, the rapid growth of user demands for network applications has promoted the internet traffic to grow at a rate of more than 40% per year, which is also a key factor in driving network construction. With the impending large-scale commercial use of 5G, both network operators and service providers are facing the formidable challenge of fast and high-quality project delivery. When volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity become the new status of the project environment, ZTE's network delivery project management takes an active, agile and insightful approach.
With more than 30 years of experience in large-scale global network project delivery, ZTE has formed a complete operation system, including digital transformation, efficient and agile project management methods, an accurate project delivery operation process, a three-dimensional project management control mechanism, and professional team building. The system ensures highly efficient project delivery, improves operators' satisfaction, and helps operators achieve commercial value.
ZTE's Project Delivery Operation System
Digital transformation is a big trend in the global hi-tech industry. ZTE has the vision of digital transformation, that is, enabling higher efficiency of operation and providing better services through digitized operations (Fig.1). It proposes the engineering project management system (EPMS)—a digital delivery solution to build a digital engineering service delivery platform that is "anytime, anywhere, collaborative, real-time, intelligent, visual and efficient". The EPMS provides four main functions: progress management, quality management, document management, and material management.
—Progress management: The progress management module has multiple dimensions ranging from scope, milestones, master plans to plan implementation, contracts, areas, sites, and tasks. The project plan is compiled online, and tasks are generated and distributed to partners. The construction team can report the progress in real time or ask for help through mobile applications. The EPMS has powerful report capabilities, and the customer can easily learn the project progress through various report services in the EPMS.
—Quality management: The construction team can perform online self-check in accordance with the preset quality standards and quality templates. The self-check photos include longitude, latitude, date, and time information. The back end automatically generates quality reports. The customer and ZTE's project management team can perform remote spot check, acceptance, or issue rectification forms without going to the site.
Online document management enables document interaction among ZTE, customers, and partners to improve the delivery efficiency of major project documents. In addition, the customizable approval flow is integrated, and the customer can perform remote site acceptance with reference to the on-site equipment information and installation quality information collected by the EPMS APP, thus saving the on-site costs and improving the deployment efficiency.
Material management focuses on three aspects: large cycle, small cycle, and consistency between the accounts and facts. The big cycle is driven by an engineering plan. According to the material requirements of the site to be executed, the construction team shall submit sets of batch delivery to the headquarters to ensure that the shipments from the headquarters are what is urgently required on-site. The small cycle is to reshape the site distribution process based on the electronic delivery order (DO), thus promoting the consistency between the accounts and facts and digitizing the whole process of material management.
At present, the EPMS has been widely used in thousands of ZTE's projects in more than 100 countries, achieving remarkable results.
Project Management Methods
By summarizing project experiences and referring to the project management body of knowledge (PMBOK) and advanced methodologies in the industry, ZTE has formed a complete best-practice methodology for customer delivery, including process, guide, template and best practice case library.
Based on this methodology, ZTE defines a series of key project management actions. For each of the five major processes (start, plan, execute, monitor, and close), ZTE formulates key management actions focusing on communication among related parties, risk/problem solving, progress and quality monitoring. These actions ensure that all steps of project management are organically and orderly integrated and help the project team advance a project in a more standardized and efficient manner. In addition, ZTE incorporates agile–one of the fastest growing management technologies for early delivery, continuous improvement, and scope flexibility–to establish its own agile practices according to the characteristics of delivering the telecom networks.
Accurate Delivery Project Operation Process
Large-scale telecom network deployment involves multiple products (e.g. wireless, wired, and microwave), multiple services (e.g. civil engineering, network planning and optimization, and equipment installation), and multiple systems and scenarios. If there is no complete end-to-end operation process, project delivery efficiency and quality will be greatly affected.
ZTE plans an end-to-end project delivery process, and formulates a standard operating procedure (SOP) that interconnects with the customer's operation process, while creating a complete set of end-to-end standard operation guides for fast project coordination and accurate implementation.
The SOP has been configured in the project management system electronically. The next task will be triggered when the present task is completed. The SOP has been used in global delivery project management (Fig. 2).
Project Management Control Mechanism
By setting up a multi-level project management office (PMO), ZTE forms a three-dimensional project communication and management control mechanism, including project promotion meeting, project review mechanism and problem/risk escalation mechanism, to help achieve the project objectives.
Professional Team Building
The project delivery team, comparable to an army, needs an excellent general and a group of soldiers.
Based on the project manager competence development framework (PMCDF) of the project management association (PMI), ZTE establishes a scientific project manager selection and retention mechanism in terms of knowledge capability, practice capability and personal capability as well as the career development path of the project management personnel, to continuously provide high-quality talents for project delivery.
A qualified project manager can lead a team to carry out a project only after being trained and certified by the capability center.
Awards Won in Project Management
ZTE's project management won the 2019 PMI (China) Project Excellence Award and the Best Enterprise Practice Award for 20 years' development of project management in China, indicating that ZTE's organizational project management capability is leading in China.
Italy's WT Project, as the winner of project excellence award, sets a good example of project delivery in a high-end market. The WT project department is established through the project organization model innovation, which improves project resources investment and management of responsibilities and rights, project operation and decision-making efficiency, and project management and service integration through completing the project management mechanism. In addition, to enable digital transformation, the EPMS interconnection and interworking platform is built to realize information sharing among customers, subcontractors and ZTE as well as visual management, which greatly improves project management efficiency.
With the development of global 5G standards and pilots, 5G is moving closer to reality. Capitalizing on its global delivery practices, ZTE constantly improves its integrated delivery management capabilities to help operators build more efficient, reliable, and stable networks in the 5G era.