Locked Down But Unstoppable
Blog, Jun 2020: In the backdrop of COVID19, for LAMINAAR to make service delivery seem like business-as-usual was only possible with belief, determination and grit. Skills and knowledge were a given, but above all else it was equanimity and empathy that helped it cross the finish line of two specific implementation projects. The following study is a view from the ring side.
A UNIQUE NEW SITUATION
With social distancing, travel ban and establishments shut, a virtual office had to be imagined by all. Outbound project managers who spent much of the year traveling and working on site, were now forced into a WFH routine – work from home – with ‘onsite’ only for simulation. Others, who would hitherto, only take the odd call to match a globally separated participant’s time zone, for a presentation or a demo, had to convince themselves that the improvised workspace was to be now – up to no one knew when – the office, and get on with business. This new normal was unfamiliar turf.
IT WAS NOT JUST ABOUT BUSINESS CONTINUITY
As if this new normal was not challenge enough for business continuity, there were two engagements, where the ask was project execution with intensive care. Both were in crucial final stages of implementation, that would lead to a cut-over. One was with a leading Korean low-cost carrier and the other, with a Singaporean ANS – air navigation services – organization, associated with a leading airport of the world. For these two, go-live orchestration had to be flawlessly conducted.
USUAL CHALLENGES GOT COMPOUNDED
There was end-user training to be considered for an audience that spoke another language and user acceptance through every little nuance, which would have otherwise been covered over multiple intensive sessions in classrooms onsite. But this was to be accomplished remotely.
For managers, keeping the flock together and everyday monitoring and progress tracking with a dispersed team, confined in virtual offices, became difficult. The team huddle, the discussion over coffee, the off-line ironing out differences, were missed.
Infrastructure and applications support teams worked without the standard tool sets. They were on home devices, PCs and broadband connections, minus the usual redundancies. The situation needed failover and additional security, a new set of rules and SOPs, for both support staff and client.
TECHNOLOGY – FOR VIRTUALIZATION
Infrastructure teams responded in real-time, switching over to their often-rehearsed business continuity plans and fail-proofed them a notch beyond BCP. The plans had to work with all offices shut and movements banned.
Alternative technologies were harnessed and licenses procured, e.g., remote video conferencing was chosen over standard large screen teleconferencing in classrooms; home networks were augmented, secured with firewalls and a virtual support ecosystem was built.
PEOPLE – MAKING A CULTURAL SHIFT
People managers were empowered and mentored to respond, by not only creating a new set of shifts that helped teams live and work in virtual time-zones but almost entirely change the work routine paradigm. The new normal was to be available for a task anytime in a 24-hour day, after ensuring adequate rest and leisure between shifts.
PROCESS – WRITING A NEW HANDBOOK
New SOPs were drafted for all processes that had a direct impact, to ensure output was not compromised. These were disseminated to suppliers and customers, internal and external, and followed as the new normal.
Plans were discussed and shared and their subsequent actions carefully orchestrated. Blessed with extremely helpful and responsive clients, the PMO team and their counterparts walked through the nuances and obtained consensus before execution.
The devil in every detail was addressed. For example, with trainees who spoke another language and an interpreter assisting in every session, trainers took additional cues from on-screen facial expressions of trainees, to gauge if a point was understood. This became a checkbox to tick, by all trainers and a new SOP was established.
A LARGE KOREAN CARRIER – goes Live with ARMS®
The leading low-cost carrier in Korea that flies to over 60 destinations, went LIVE amidst the lockdown, with a mix of applications from the ARMS® suite in May 2020.
A LEADING ANS FROM APAC – received a complete solution
A fully automated staff management system was delivered to a leading Air Navigation Services provider in APAC – a solution embedded with the highest security and data privacy demands, deployed on cloud.
INDIA’S NATIONAL AIRLINE – receives an e-learning solution
India’s national carrier had to meet their crew training and validation requirements, while the country was under lock-down and licenses were nearing expiry.
A PRIVATE INDIAN AIRLINE – receives an e-learning solution
The domestic private carrier relatively new to international operations, needed crew validation training for maintaining recency, amidst the restrictions and their inability to position crew for classroom sessions.