IT Project Review and Rescue
Here are a few examples of projects that Bruce F. Webster has tackled in the past:
- Webster was brought in to review increasing problems with the recently launched (and live) customer account management website of a major financial corporation. With the help of two associates, Webster conducted extensive interviews; reviewed the cross-enterprise architecture; examined source code, error reports, and data logs; did real-time monitoring of the live system; and conducted database architecture analysis. Webster made a series of focused, detailed recommendations, including changes to the software development life cycle, specific hardware and software upgrades, and remediation in critical technical areas.
- Webster led a joint review within a Fortune 50 corporation of a major re-engineering project that was at least 100% over schedule (4 years vs. 2 years) and more than 300% over budget ($500 million vs. $120 million). Over a period of three months, the review team interviewed dozens of individuals in various roles (including both business and development) and developed metrics for assessing completeness and reliability of a large number of systems and subsystems. Webster personally prepared the 50-page report (and accompanying presentation) detailing the joint findings, then presented the findings and recommendations to a large meeting of the project management staff.
- A global logistics firm retained Webster as an “acting chief technical officer.” As such, Webster made regular visits to the firm’s offices in Canada and the US to discuss, review and help direct a major internal technology effort intended to replace their existing customer-facing systems. Webster met mostly with upper management, as well as with the firm’s chief software architect, whom Webster had been asked to mentor.
- A large financial corporation brought Webster in to review schedule slippage problems with a major enterprise-wide remediation effort. Webster conducted interviews with over 40 employees and reviewed large amounts of documentation, then made a set of explicit recommendations for ensuring successful completion of the effort. The client then retained Webster to oversee the completion of the project, which he did successfully.
- A major subcontractor on a global communications project went through a disastrous design review (by the coordinating firm) of their work to date; also, they were behind schedule for their portion of the next project-wide delivery. This firm retained Webster as an “architect of architects” with responsibility to get their portion of the project back on track as well as oversee architectural efforts in other projects. Webster interviewed the entire subcontractor project team (30+ people, up through VP management levels) to assess project status, personnel skills, and internal IT practices; he also attended global project meetings in the US and Hong Kong. He drafted coding and design standards for the subcontractor developers; created the actual software architecture for the subcontractor’s network management subsystem (none had previously existed); worked with the coordinating firm’s program manager to established a managed specifications baseline for the subcontractor; set up a formal Architecture and Design group for the subcontractor; and mentored developers, architects and managers. The result: not only did the firm make the build delivery date, they were the only group in the global project to do so.