Managing Risk in a Competitive Market

Tenovis is one of Germany’s largest companies in the telecommunication market. Tenovis works in a wide range of telecommunication areas such as private branch exchanges (PBX), call centres, and IP-based telephony.

The organization undertook a project aimed providing a unified, integrated tool to support service personnel in their task of administrating all of Tenovis existing PBX platforms.

IP-Based Telephony

IP-Based Telephony

Thus, this project was called The Tool Harmonisation project. Started at the end of 1999, the projects was planned to be approximately one year.

In this project new and challenging technologies were to be applied. Web technology was to be used in a client- server application context.

Additionally object-oriented technology was selected for design and implemented. On the one hand, the new technologies added complexity to the project, on the other hand, they were expected to increase the projects productivity.

Besides the new technologies, a new development process and a new project organisation were introduced, which involved teams from three different locations and time zones (India, France and Germany).

In the early stages of the project, risk management was performed in an informal way. However, this intuitive risk management was considered to be no longer appropriate for the company in the telecommunications market. This market is characterised by high competition, strong demand for innovative technologies, and very short innovation cycles.

These factors usually impose risk to telecommunication project. The introduction of new technologies and processes imposed additional risks.

Hence this project was seen as particularly risky compared to other projects at Tenovis. This situation made the case for introduction to explicit, systematic, and experience-based risk management into the project.

The following Lesson were learned by the organisation with regard to managing risk:

  • Risk Management should be closely integrated with project management and daily project work foster synergy between these activities.
  • Risk identification should be scheduled automatically at predefined milestones and, additional ly, whenever it is seen as necessary.
  • Risk monitoring should be performed regularly with short intervals between two meetings.
  • Risk Monitoring has to sufficiently question the implementation of controlling actions and their impact on risk.
  • Training is important to train the participants and raise awareness for risk management and risks
  • Process ownership for risk management has to rest with the project manager.
  • Commitment of the project manager is of utmost. Importance and has to be ensured from the beginning.
Source: Bernd Freimut, Susanne Hartkopf, Jyrki Kontio, Werner Kobitzsch, “An Industrial Case, Study of Implementing Software Risk Management”, Proceedings of the 8th European software engineering conference held jointly, with 9th. ACM SIGSOFT international symposium on Foundations of software engineering, Vienna, Austria, Session: Experiences and case studies, Pages: 277-287, 2001.

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