Project management Woosh-style

Break big projects into sub-projects and use what you learn along the way

Woosh project manager Sean Whitaker says the key to successfully managing the rollout of Woosh’s base stations around the country is to treat each as a separate project, rather than viewing the rollout as one big project.

Speaking at the New Zealand project management institute’s recent annual conference in Auckland, Whitaker said “it’s critical to view each site as a project and not just part of a production line”.

One of the advantages of running each base station as a separate project is that later projects can learn from the experience of earlier ones, he says.

Defining the project is the first step to successful project management and a close second is making sure project managers have the authority they need to get the project done, he says.

“Woosh is a matrix-type organisation, in which people report to their functional managers.

“Project managers have direct responsibility for external contractors, but our internal engineering and networking teams don’t answer to me.”

That could potentially lead to conflicts between the project manager and the functional manager, but working closely with functional managers has eliminated that possible hurdle, Whitaker says.

With each Woosh base station being different in terms of terrain, local planning laws and landlord, there’s not such thing as a typical base station, Whitaker says.

“Once the project is underway, change management is the key. When there’s the potential for changes with multiple projects, it’s important to keep an eye on them.”

Documenting and communicating the changes effectively is essential, he says.

Whitaker is based in Christchurch and is responsible for Woosh’s base station rollouts in that region.

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