Kannel Ltd.

Tech Uplift

Scenario

Our client’s, an international automotive manufacture and retailer, Network infrastructure was impacted by the WannaCry virus in late June 2017. Windows 2000/2003 servers were particularly impacted since Microsoft support had expired and security patching was outdated. An executive directive was issued to have all Windows 2000/2003 servers upgraded and/or decommissioned. This initiative received a high level of prioritization and visibility by both continental Chief Information Officer and Chief Cyber Security Officer, but the initiative was faltering.

In response, AustinCSI was approached to take over the design and management of a “Tech Uplift” program in August of 2017. The AustinCSI team inherited 579 Windows 2000/2003 servers that presented a security threat to our client’s network. The goal of the project was to manage the upgrade and decommission, or find an alternative plan, for all servers running Windows 2000 or 2003 by November 17, 2017.

Strategy

Organizational Hurdles

The AustinCSI team was embedded on location with our client’s staff with a first order of business to uncover why the project was producing poor results. Through research and collaborating with our client’s staff, AustinCSI discovered that there were:

  • Insufficient plan milestones, success metrics or reporting
  • Inadequate server ownership details
  • Disarrayed asset documentation
  • No reasonable project management tools or document repository
  • Nonexistent escalation management practices for risk mitigation
  • Undefined success criteria
  • Ineffective coordination between the multiple silos owning these servers
  • Improper governance and communications management
  • Ineffective centralized management for the overall effort

The primary cause of the project’s dwindling momentum was organizational in nature: there was no central authority managing and responsible for the total effort.

AustinCSI

Responding to the Problem

    AustinCSI leveraged its project and portfolio management practices to:

  • Established weekly meetings at both the site and division level for updates and escalation
  • Aligned communications across multiple organizations to ensure broad understanding and visibility towards common goals. This included Information Security, solution architects, Systems Integrator, PMO, helpdesk, and DCM Sunset Team.
  • Implemented three clearly defined milestones including sub-activities, clear data points and defined success criteria
  • Metrics were made available in real time for instant reporting
  • Responded to the issues

Responding to the Problem 
In response to the organizational challenge the project faced, the AustinCSI team divided the issues into four categories with improvements to each

Meeting Structure

  • Established weekly meetings at both the site and division level for updates and escalation
  • Developed guidelines for attendance and agenda for each meeting. Updates were recorded in real time.
  • Restructured audiences to target specific attendees for increased efficiency and cross collaboration between teams

Communication

  • Aligned communications across multiple organizations to ensure broad understanding and visibility towards common goals. This included Information Security, solution architects, DXC, PMO, helpdesk, and DCM Sunset Team.
  • Identified common theme roadblocks across multiple applications such as PARS requests, access issues, legal approval, security exemptions

Tracking and Documentation

  • Implemented three clearly defined milestones including sub-activities, clear data points and defined success criteria
  • Created a single master tracker, housed in Sharepoint, that included all pertinent data and status regarding the project
  • Created a central document repository for all project efforts
  • Implemented a weekly scan across multiple data sources to capture any potential new scope servers

Reporting

  • Metrics were made available in real time for instant reporting
  • Allowed visibility into where each server was within its lifecycle and where escalation was needed
  • Created status phases for progress per server, each status with an escalation path
  • Risk and issues communicated weekly and as needed with executive and division audience
  • Created a real-time project dashboard for instant push-button reporting

Results

The project resulted in the completion of the necessary upgrades by the target date and an improved organizational communication and reporting structure.