The lessons learned from
the “Railpocket Wifi” project
The Railpocket system in a few lines..


                                  The Railpocket is the digital
                ...
The wifi on the railpocket project - a rollout in a very short timeframe
                                     Rollout wit...
5 months, a daunting task..

                               Organisation
                                 • an organisati...
In essence, the project needed ways to:


                    Prevent disrupting discussions about
                     t...
The project approach - based on 3 general principles



                      Rollout features fast and frequently




   ...
Rollout fast and frequently
Leading by example enables you to demonstrate the value
and react and adjust problems before t...
The project outline

 August           September                October           November        December

   Main design...
Use iterations and pilots
August            September                October              November        December       ...
Use staging to reduce the risks
                                                   Version pilot1   Version pilot2




 De...
Use super users

                   Super users: a group of technology savvy
                    Frontliners with strong ...
Start pilots in sponsor stations
                                            Select stations with an open mind and
      ...
Keep the team small and effective

A small project team runs fast, can create momentum and
ensures that the team has full ...
A small core team with integration knowledge/capabilities

5 people:                                    Program
- Project ...
Deploy uniform and single issue management

                                                     All suppliers were
     ...
Create a connectivity plan
                              Infrastructure is a major source of delay
                      ...
Exploit the benefits of modern technology
Mobile middleware as an enabler

1. Context processing for multiple data distrib...
Use context for multiple datasets and a simple migration




       No coverage =         Provisioning                    ...
Create a robust system with a distributed architecture
                        Wireless network(s)              Back-end D...
Example of the distributed system




                                    20
Reduce support load in the field with self healing
       Self healing creates a fast deployment scenario




       Simpl...
How can these techniques help you?
The project

               A 5 month time period is short
                when:

                 • People have to adapt...
Achievements
 Meeting a hard deadline with all
  functionality in place (some stations had
  still some coverage problems...
1. Rollout features fast & frequently
2. Keep the team small & effective
3. Exploit modern technology to the max

QUESTION...
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The Railpocket Wifi Project Anonymous

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The Railpocket Wifi Project Anonymous

  1. 1. The lessons learned from the “Railpocket Wifi” project
  2. 2. The Railpocket system in a few lines..  The Railpocket is the digital assistent for the Frontliners of Dutch Rail  It’s a standard COTS Windows PDA  Used on daily basis by 5000 Frontliners  ..... enables a full digital workflow! 2
  3. 3. The wifi on the railpocket project - a rollout in a very short timeframe  Rollout within 5 months: • WIFI infrastructure on 50 stations • New software ecosystem based on an innovative middleware synchronisation layer • Introduction of new operating procedures • enabling the full digital workflow!  Hard deadline: december 12th, 2005 • Annual start of the new shiftroster • Project enabled a more compressed shiftroster • Created huge savings by staff reduction (natural flow out) 3
  4. 4. 5 months, a daunting task..  Organisation • an organisation used to long project cycles and formal procedures • new operational procedures • tension with the unions (the staff reduction)  Technology • Complex IT infrastructure with multiple owners. • Permit issues with the network owner. • New unproven technology • Mission critical data distribution in a wireless network with limited coverage  Project • Multiple and remote software suppliers, language issues. • Migration. The new distribution needed to run in parallel with the existing distribution. • Started in the holiday season, Final delivery in the holiday season. 4
  5. 5. In essence, the project needed ways to:  Prevent disrupting discussions about the new operational procedures  Reduce the risks with unproven technology in a fully operational system  Prevent the steadily evolution into a large, slow moving project team 5
  6. 6. The project approach - based on 3 general principles Rollout features fast and frequently Keep the team small and effective Exploit the benefits of modern technology 6
  7. 7. Rollout fast and frequently Leading by example enables you to demonstrate the value and react and adjust problems before they escalate 1. Use development iterations and multiple pilots 2. Use staging environments 3. Use “super users” 4. Use “sponsor stations”
  8. 8. The project outline August September October November December Main design Build Iteration 1 Iteration 2 Iteration 3 Start new timetable dec 12th Acceptance Production environment environment Training frontliners (video etc) Admin Start Pilot 1 Pilot 2 training Production Rollout Wifi (3 stations) Rollout Wifi (50 stations) Pilot 1: 50 users @ 1 station Pilot 2: 2000 users @ 3 stations Production: 10.000 users @ 50 stations 8 27
  9. 9. Use iterations and pilots August September October November December  Iterations • Focus on end-to- Main design end use cases • Start with the Build Iteration 1 Iteration 2 Iteration 3 Start new technical difficult timetable issues dec 12th 1 2 3 Production Acceptance environment environment • Do not execute the traditional waterfall Training frontliners (video etc) • You will postpone the integration Admin Pilot 1 Pilot 2 Start problems to the training Production end • You will have no Rollout Wifi (3 stations) Rollout Wifi (50 stations) time to facilitate or solve the migration of 10.000 users • The complexity in the project will increase and you will fallback on only one end-to-end use case is needed to go live! formalization and delays Real problems occur in the field, not in the lab
  10. 10. Use staging to reduce the risks Version pilot1 Version pilot2 Development Development Test Acceptance Production  Benefits • Fast, controlled rollouts with minimal risk • Enables easy rollback and fallback scenarios • Lowers the disturbance in the development 10
  11. 11. Use super users  Super users: a group of technology savvy Frontliners with strong presentation and communications skills.  Selected in a formal selection procedure • an advertisement in a frontliner magazine, • job interviews and a role play, • Training to improve skills  Super users have a training/instruction role. But can also act as the users in the first pilot  Super users are essential when the system goes live on multiple places. You cannot clone the experts. They are the first line of defense Super users are important because they speak the language of the Frontliner and they keep the positive vibes in the field 11
  12. 12. Start pilots in sponsor stations  Select stations with an open mind and obedient Frontliners.  Use the station manager to radiate positive vibes in the chain of command.  Use super users on the floor and station managers in the chain of command creates a overall positive emotion. • Pilots silence objections because: • You execute pilots - errors are part of the experience, you cannot start a lawsuit based on errors in a pilot • Pilots create a track record of success and momentum when you gradually increasing the scope and size of the pilot • At the end your increased pilot is basically production! 12
  13. 13. Keep the team small and effective A small project team runs fast, can create momentum and ensures that the team has full focus on the essential things 1. deploy single issue management 2. create a connectivity plan 3. do not mix project communication with creating awareness
  14. 14. A small core team with integration knowledge/capabilities 5 people: Program - Project manager management - Project assistent Wifi on the Railpocket project Related projects - System engineer - Configuration manager - Tester Project management Comm. project Wifi@NS rollout Tech System Acceptance Project support Engineer Test project aid NS departments Suppliers Planning + Functional IT + Context Railpocket New Logistic support Management Engine Application Behcom Railpocket apps Safety IAM Infrastructure Infrastructure Infrastructure 14
  15. 15. Deploy uniform and single issue management  All suppliers were forced to use a single webbased issue management system  We included the Super users. They became really involved in the bugfixing cycle.  Created a focus on high quality. All issues addressed. fast bug fixing cycles.  330 bugs, 169 improvements, 1100 activities and a single teammeeting every week. Reduces meetings and enables fast communication with low overhead 15
  16. 16. Create a connectivity plan  Infrastructure is a major source of delay • complex subject which requires experts • Returning discussions about security • Permit issues on stations  The solution: • Invest heavily in an outstanding connectivity plan • Start the rollout when the document has been accepted by all parties on forehand. • Setup a demo station to validate the plan  The connectivity plan is a sacred document • Act fast and furious when somebody expressed doubt about the infrastructure • Do not allow any updates on the document after acceptance. • Act as a fixed price project manager: Postpone all changes 16
  17. 17. Exploit the benefits of modern technology Mobile middleware as an enabler 1. Context processing for multiple data distributions and easy migration 2. Create robustness with a distributed architecture 3. Create a user friendly interface to make all this less complex
  18. 18. Use context for multiple datasets and a simple migration No coverage = Provisioning Save or discard Click&Run™ no services of services service  OTAP - development, Test, Acceptance and Production environments • but in reality..... − Setup an extra proxy − Define a new dataset − validate safely in the production environment  Simple management of multiple data distributions 18
  19. 19. Create a robust system with a distributed architecture Wireless network(s) Back-end Data center Appear server(s) Appear proxies Network Appear clients Enterprise Service Bus Create scalability, reliability and a high performance Reduces the dependency for a flawless infrastructure 19
  20. 20. Example of the distributed system 20
  21. 21. Reduce support load in the field with self healing Self healing creates a fast deployment scenario Simple and clear userinterface makes it simple to understand 21
  22. 22. How can these techniques help you?
  23. 23. The project  A 5 month time period is short when: • People have to adapt to a new way of working • The projects introduces innovative technology • The organization is used to slow pace projects  This project was: • on time, • above customer expectation • and .. delivered all functionality before the deathline! 23
  24. 24. Achievements  Meeting a hard deadline with all functionality in place (some stations had still some coverage problems)  Easy migration of 10.000 users  Error rate data synchronization dropped from 3 percent to less then 0.1 percent.  Substantial lower support costs by self healing, click&run™, the use of context and the marvelous distributed architecture.  The project survived 2 lawsuits initiated by the unions.  It uplifted existing functionality to a higher level (WIFI enabled software).  We created an easy to use development platform for future new services with low ROI and TCO figures. 24
  25. 25. 1. Rollout features fast & frequently 2. Keep the team small & effective 3. Exploit modern technology to the max QUESTIONS?

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